Ten outstanding economic events in 2018

Jan 01, 2019 | 12:02 PM GMT+7

TheLEADER2018 witnessed the comprehensive success of Vietnam's economy when all 12 socio-economic criteria have been fulfilled and many new records have been set.

Ten outstanding events of Vietnam's economy 2018 are selected by the online Gov’t News.

GDP growth set a record at 7.08, higher than the planned target of 6.7 per cent and any forecast.

This has been the highest growth rate in the past 10 years since Vietnam was affected by the global economic crisis. Within 10 years, Vietnam's GDP growth reached 7 per cent, showing that the economy has gradually recovered more firmly.

It is worth noting that despite high GDP growth, the economy still ensures macro stability, with a low consumer price index at 3.54 per cent, a decline in public debt compared to 2017.

Import and export turnover set a record, anticipated at over $482.23 billion

Especially, Vietnam has achieved a trade surplus of $7.2 billion for the first time. Thus, Vietnam has three consecutive years of trade surplus in which the figure of the following year is always higher than that of the previous year. Great trade surplus not only contributes to increasing foreign exchange reserves of Vietnam but also stabilizing the exchange rate.

2018 also saw a new record of agricultural exports with the value estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at over $40 billion, making Vietnam become the fifteenth rank in the world for agricultural exports.

Foreign exchange reserves have set a record, estimated at $60 billion, up 3.3 times compared to 2015.

There are many reasons for a sharp increase in foreign exchange reserves of Vietnam in 2018 such as the increasing FDI, the strong equitization wave, increase in remittances.

The record foreign exchange reserves helped the State Bank to be more proactive in the exchange rate market intervention. As a result, despite the strong volatility in the world financial market in 2018, especially the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates four times, US-China trade tension took place ..., causing many countries in the region to remarkably adjust the domestic currency value, the exchange rate of Vietnam Dong only increased by more than 2 per cent. 

The exchange rate, gold market, foreign currency, and the value of Vietnam Dong are stable, easing investors and creating the premise for the country’s economy to continue growing.

Business and investment environment is strongly improved, promoting large investment plans for the private sector.

2018 set a record of cutting business conditions, specialized inspection procedures after nearly 20 years of implementation. This is also the first year the Government had a separate resolution to cut costs for businesses.

The number of newly-established enterprises in 2018 was 131,275, setting a record.

Notably, 2018 is the year of large-scale private projects. The complex of VinFast automobile and electric motorbike factory, which covers a total investment of $3.5 billion and an area of 335 ha, has come into operation after more than one year of construction. Van Don International Airport, invested by Sun Group, officially welcomed the first commercial flights.

30 years of FDI attraction

2018 also recognized the outstanding achievements of Vietnam in attracting foreign investment, with total new registration, increase adjustment and contribution for shares purchase deals of $35.46 billion. FDI disbursement has reached a record level, with $19.1 billion, up 9.1 per cent year on year. 

At the end of the year, Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Project, which has an investment of over $9 billion, has been officially put into commercial operation. This event has once again confirmed Vietnam is an attractive investment destination.

Successful organization of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN)

This is the most important landmark in Vietnam's external affairs in 2018. With the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the event attracted the participation of leaders from ASEAN and the region, international organizations and nearly 1,000 leaders of leading corporations in ASEAN and the world.

During the 60 discussions, interactions have been conducted effectively between startups and researchers. The success of the organization work was also demonstrated through the suitable arrangement of activities along with good logistics work and ensured security.

The National Assembly approves the CPTPP Agreement.

On November 12, the National Assembly ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and other related documents.

Specialists supposed that the CPTPP will open a lot of opportunities in terms of market, preferentiality, export structure and integration potentials for Viet Nam. The nation’s GDP and export growths may witness respective increases of 1.32 per cent and 4.04 per cent till 2035.

The CPTPP has been ratified by seven country members and took into effect at the end of December 2018.

Positive development in the rural economy

Implementing the Resolution of the 7th Central Committee, the 10th term on agriculture, farmers and rural areas, in 2018, the whole country promoted the movement of building new rural areas and developing specific agricultural products (one commune, one product - OCOP), aiming to fulfil all new rural criteria by 2020.

Thanks to the Resolution, new rural construction became a widespread movement, supported by the people. The rural areas have changed significantly, and the lives of farmers have been greatly improved. Many large Vietnamese and foreign enterprises have also invested in agriculture and rural areas. Agriculture has also really become a platform, making a great contribution to a sustainable economic growth.

Record of 15 million international visitors

This is the first time, Vietnam tourism has achieved this record figure, marking a remarkable growth of the tourism industry. After three years, the total number of international visitors to Vietnam has doubled (up three million compared to 2017 and five million compared to 2016), maintaining an increase of approximately 22 per cent compared to 2017.

In 2018, the World Tourism Organization ranked Vietnam’s tourism growth at sixth globally. Vietnam was also honored as “Asia’s leading destination” at the 25th annual World Tourism Awards and Asia's leading golf destination at the Golf World Travel Awards.

In addition, in 2018, about 80 million domestic tourists were served. Total revenue from tourists reached VND620 trillion ($26 billion). This affirmed that Vietnam has been an attractive, safe and friendly destination in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a premise for Vietnam tourism to become a key economic sector.

The Committee for Management of State Capital comes into operation.

The committee has officially taken charge of managing state capital worth VND2.3 quadrillion ($99 billion) invested at 19 State corporations and groups.

After 20 years of reforming state-owned enterprises, the establishment of the Committee is an important step in the implementation of restructuring state-owned enterprises, separating the State management functions and business functions of enterprises.