HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – Vietnam’s economy managed to maintain a positive growth in the second quarter of 2020 with a year-on-year expansion in its gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.36 percent, its lowest figure in a decade owing to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO) attributed the marginal increase between April and June in the GDP – which had expanded by 6.73 percent during the same period last year – to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not claimed any lives in the country so far.
“The complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a negative impact on all socio-economic aspects,” the GSO said.
The worst hit sector was services, which contracted by 1.76 percent, while the primary and secondary sectors posted a growth of 1.72 percent and 1.38 percent respectively. Vietnam has been one of the countries that have best managed the coronavirus health crisis, with 355 cases, zero deaths and 73 straight days without any local COVID-19 infections.
The prodigious recovery last week of the most serious COVID-19 patient in Vietnam, a British pilot who spent several weeks in a coma, allowed the country to maintain its statistic of zero deaths.
Known as Patient 91, Stephen Cameron, 43, a pilot for Vietnam Airlines, regained 85 percent of his lung capacity in recent weeks.
While the country has regained a state of normalcy, the tourism sector is suffering as a result of border closures and industrial production has been affected by a decline in global demand, which has led to an interannual decline in exports of 1.1 percent in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, imports between January and June have also declined by 3 percent from the same period a year ago.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that the Vietnamese economy will grow by 2.7 percent in 2020, well below the 7 percent growth it posted in 2019, but Hanoi’s communist government has set a goal of over 5 percent.