Growth may slow down towards year-end: GSO hinh anh 1Harvesting rice in Thanh Thuy commune of Vi Thuy district, the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – General Director of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam urged sectors and localities not to take it for granted that the yearly goal of 6.7 percent GDP growth is within reach, noting that the usual trend of higher growth towards year-end is no longer true for this year.

Speaking at the GSO’s press conference on June 29 to announce socio-economic statistics for the first six months of this year, Lam said despite a 7.08 percent expansion in the first half of this year, the highest for the period since 2011, the GDP only grew 6.79 percent in the second quarter compared to 7.45 percent in the first three months.

Therefore, growth in the third and fourth quarters is likely to be lower than the pace in the first half of 2018, he noted, adding that the GSO already forecast this at the beginning of the year.

The GSO chief attributed the problem to growth slowdown in industry, particularly mining, and in agriculture.

Do Thi Ngoc, Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, said there are risks of surging inflation in the next six months when the consumer price index (CPI) in the first half hiked 3.29 percent year on year – the fastest pace in seven years.

Meanwhile, trade deficit has returned in the last two months, raising a warning about export decline or import increase of the economy.

[Slowdown in economic figures challenges growth efforts]

Another worrying problem lies with the private sector, with more than 52,800 companies having halted operations in the reviewed period, up 39.2 percent from a year earlier, while over 6,600 others completed bankruptcy procedures, up 21.8 percent.

GSO General Director Lam said to keep inflation under 4 percent this year as targeted by the National Assembly, prices of goods and medical and educational services, among others, should not be raised simultaneously.

He noted it is necessary to provide loans for priority fields like small- and medium-sized enterprises and exporting companies, continue to improve the business climate, and strongly develop the processing and manufacturing of agricultural products and consumer goods. There is also a need to soon put industrial investment projects into operation to boost production capacity.

Each sector and locality needs to closely follow its own growth plan to make appropriate and timely solutions to remove obstacles and facilitate production and business activities, Lam added.

The GSO announced that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 7.08 percent in the first half of the year, marking the highest rate since 2011, fueled by robust expansion of the industrial and construction sector and service sector.

It said impressive growth was seen in the agriculture, seafood, processing and manufacturing and service sectors, and exports continued to be a driving force for the nation’s economic development.-VNA