Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Vietnam posts 8.2pc growth

Vietnam's economy grew nearly 8.2 percent in 2006 compared to the previous year, one of the fastest rates in Asia but slightly below last year's figure, official statistics showed Friday.

Industry and construction drove the expansion, increasing 10.4 percent, while services were up 8.3 percent and agricultural output expanded by 3.4 percent, said the Government Statistics Office (GSO).

Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP), the total value of goods and services produced in the country, reached 973,791,000 billion dong (60.5 billion dollars), said the official statistics.

The year-on-year growth rate of 8.17 percent was close to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's prediction of 8.2 percent made to the national assembly in October, but below the expansion of 8.4 percent booked in 2005.

"Industrial production was down compared with 2005," when factory and manufacturing output expanded by nearly 10.7 percent, said the GSO, blaming in part a drop in oil production from 18.5 million to 17 million tonnes.

Vietnam has large offshore oil reserves in its South China Sea territory but lacks operational refineries, forcing it to import petroleum products and leaving the country vulnerable to fluctuations in world oil prices.