Vietnam records GDP growth slowdown in Q1 hinh anh 1The value of the industrial and construction industries rose by only 6.72 percent in Q1 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 5.46 percent in the first quarter, slower than the 6.12 percent during the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

GSO Director General Nguyen Bich Lam said there were signs of GDP stagnation although Q1 is the first quarter to implement the socio-economic development plan for 2016 – 2020.

He delineated that the increase in the value of the agro-forestry-fisheries sectors is equivalent to only 98.77 percent of that a year earlier. It is also lower than recent years’ corresponding figures.

Rice output in the Mekong Delta – the rice hub of Vietnam – dropped by 6.2 percent, or about 700,000 tonnes, year on year while the winter crop yield in the north was also low.

The value of the industrial and construction industries rose by only 6.72 percent, compared to 8.74 percent recorded in Q1 last year, Lam noted.

Partly impacted by global economic difficulties, exports also grew at a slow pace (4.1 percent), he said, adding that the shipments of crude oil – a major hard currency earner – nosedived 52.8 percent during the three-month period through March.

At the press conference in Hanoi, the official also pointed out some economic highlights such as the 6.13 percent hike in the services sector’s value, the highest since the first quarter of 2012.

The consumer price index in March augmented 0.57 percent month on month and 1.69 percent year on year. It increased by 1.25 percent annually for the quarter.

Drought, saltwater intrusion and unpredictable weather patterns will pose major challenges to Vietnam’s economy through the rest of 2016.

Additionally, crude oil prices, which are expected to remain low, will have certain impacts on the domestic economy – like a decline in the State budget revenue from crude oil. On the other hand, low oil prices will also help cut down input expenses for almost all economic sectors and subsequently boost overall GDP, he added.-VNA