Vietnam has rich natural resources: rice (world's second
largest exporter), fruit, coffee (world's third largest
producer), tea, cashew nuts, marine produce, coal, off-shore
oil and gas, hydro-electricity; and a well-educated and
diligent population of 81.6million.
Vietnam's small economy, non-convertible currency and
its then lack of a stock exchange sheltered it from the
worst of the Asian financial crisis. Between 1992 and
1997 GDP growth did not fall below 8% per year but in
1998 economic growth slowed sharply and decelerated further
|The Vietnamese economy performed reasonably well in
2002 with GDP growth of 7.0% according to the Vietnamese
Government. Strong domestic demand in 2002 drove up the
Consumer Price Index (CPI) to 4.3% growth compared to
0.8% in 2001. Given the global situation, 10% export growth
has been a considerable achievement, the high price of
oil and the massive increase in exports to the US (from
US$900 million in 2001 to US$2.2 billion in 2002) were
the main contributory factors. The fact that 2002 was
the first full year of the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA)
with the US was also significant.
The economy during the first half of 2003 appears to be
performing well. Export earnings increased by 17%. GDP
continued to grow at 7%. The value of industrial production
also rose by 15% during this period. All this was achieved
despite the SARS crisis that hit the country.
Standard of living
Vietnam has widely differing cost of living indicators.
Local wages can be as low as US$30 per month for blue-collar
workers, but much higher in foreign companies. Costs for
foreign companies are much higher, especially for commercial,
residential and telecommunications. Costs for foreigners
are however, falling and this trend is said to be continuing.
Goods produced locally and purchased in local markets
are cheap. Food and accommodation is of a high quality
and low price.