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Vietnam Economy Profile 2001

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Economy - overview

Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy. Substantial progress was achieved from 1986 to 1996 in moving forward from an extremely low starting point - growth averaged around 9% per year from 1993 to 1997. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems existing in the Vietnamese economy but, rather than prompting reform, reaffirmed the government's belief that shifting to a market oriented economy leads to disaster. GDP growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth continued at the moderately strong level of 5.5%, a level that should be matched in 2001. These numbers mask some major difficulties in economic performance. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, have reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more efficient foreign producers; this problem apparently eased in 2000. Foreign direct investment fell dramatically, from $8.3 billion in 1996 to about $1.6 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities have moved slowly in implementing the structural reforms needed to revitalize the economy and produce more competitive, export-driven industries.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

purchasing power parity - $154.4 billion (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

5.5% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

purchasing power parity - $1,950 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector

agriculture: 25%

industry: 35%

services: 40% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line

37% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.5%

highest 10%: 29% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.6% (2000 est.)

Labor force

38.2 million (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture 67%, industry and services 33% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate

25% (1995 est.)


revenues: $5.3 billion

expenditures: $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion (1999 est.)


food processing, garments, shoes, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper

Industrial production growth rate

10.7% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production

22.985 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source

fossil fuel: 47.71%

hydro: 52.29%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (1999)

Electricity - consumption

21.376 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (1999)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (1999)

Agriculture - products

paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas, sugar; poultry, pigs; fish


$14.3 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities

crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes

Exports - partners

China, Japan, Germany, Australia, US, France, Singapore, UK, Taiwan


$15.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles

Imports - partners

Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, France, US, Sweden

Debt - external

$13.2 billion (2000)

Economic aid - recipient

$2.1 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 2000


dong (VND)

Currency (code)


Exchange rates

dong per US dollar - 14,530 (January 2001), 14,020 (January 2000), 13,900 (December 1998), 11,100 (December 1996), 11,193 (1995 average), 11,000 (October 1994)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of May 15, 2007

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