The year 2013 will likely be better for Vietnam’s economy than 2012 amid slowly improving domestic and external demand and the initial results from the country’s recent reform efforts.

According to the report “Vietnam at a glance” released on January 3 by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Vietnam’s economy slowed to 5.0 percent in 2012 from 5.9 percent in the previous year.

The Vietnamese government’s actions in 2011 and 2012 to prioritise sustained-over-rapid-growth were considered positive for the country’s long-term outlook, the report says.

According to the report, there were some bright starts of the economy in 2012, such as exports, which expanded almost 20 percent despite weak external demand and trade surplus.

However, it notes that the country needs further reforms to resolve bad debt overhang and improve the business environment and supportive infrastructure.

It also needs to improve the business environment, most notably reducing red tape and creating clearer laws on how to resolve insolvency, to attract foreign investment to support its development, the report says. -VND