Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to expand by 5.5-5.6 percent in the first quarter, much higher than growth seen in same period last year, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dao Quang Thu forecast, though the General Statistics Office’s official figure has not been released.

The 2015 GDP growth target of 6.2 percent will be achieved if such a trend is maintained throughout the year, Thu said at a meeting reviewing the socio-economic context in Hanoi on March 25.

The March industrial production index rose by 25.8 percent from the previous month and by 9.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

A number of products recorded substantial growth from Q1 of 2014 including mobile phones (up by over 100 percent), automobiles (52.6 percent) and footwear (up 16.3 percent).

Meanwhile, export revenue in Q1 reached 35.7 billion USD, climbing 6.9 percent from 2014. Some commodities saw observable shipment increases, including telephones & components (21.9 percent) and textiles & garments (7.8 percent).

The retail sales of consumer goods and services during January-March increased by nearly 10 percent annually.

At the meeting, some voiced concerns over foreign investment attraction and capital disbursement.

As of March 20, Vietnam had licensed 267 foreign investment projects worth more than 1.2 billion USD, nearly doubling the number of projects but dropping 40.6 percent in registered capital from a year before.

Some 621 million USD were added to 102 existing projects, down 40.6 percent in value and up 2.5 times in the number of projects from Q1 in 2014. New and additional registered capital totalled more than 1.8 billion USD, tumbling 45 percent.

Current capital disbursement is relatively low, said a representative of the Finance Ministry, elaborating that only 26 trillion VND (1.23 billion USD) of investment capital—or 15 percent of this year’s target—was disbursed between January and March.

Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency, said the three-month figures are not accurate representations of the entire year, adding that he is optimistic about foreign direct investment attraction in 2015.-VNA