Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP
) has grown 5.52% on an annual basis in the first six months of this year to 1,879.87 trillion dong ($83.55 billion), slowing from a 6.32% expansion in the same period of last year, according to data of the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The local economy expanded 5.48% in the first quarter of this year and 5.55% in the next three months, the government-run office said in a statement on Tuesday.
The slowdown is attributable a 0.18% decline in agricultural output, which made a cut of 0.03 percentage point to the overall growth. This is the first time in many years this sector, a pillar of the local economy, experienced a decline.
The country’s paddy output was estimated at 19.4 million tons in the six-month period, down 1.3 million tons from a year earlier, due to cold spells in the North, and drought and saline intrusion in the South, the office said.
“Agriculture is clearly emerging as both a drag on growth and a boost to inflation,” said ANZ
Research in a note on June 27.
The bank has trimmed its growth forecast for Vietnam to 6.4% in 2016 from 6.9% due to softness in agricultural output.
Truong Dinh Tuyen, a veteran negotiator of Vietnam’s entry in the World Trade Organization (WTO
), put the country’s growth at 6.5% this year, citing destabilizing factors such as budget imbalances, swelling public debt and rising fiscal deficit.