HANOI, Dec 29 (AFP) — Vietnam reported economic growth for 2021 of just 2.58 percent on Wednesday, beating a 30-year low set last year as the pandemic continues to take a toll.
The communist state has long been a success story among Asian economies, posting growth of seven percent in 2019.
But shutdowns caused by coronavirus have battered the export-reliant economy, sending GDP growth plunging to 2.91 percent in 2020 — the lowest reported in three decades.
The General Statistics Office (GSO) in Hanoi said fourth quarter growth was at 5.22 percent, but the annual figure was dragged down by a contraction of 6.02 percent in the third quarter.
“The complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic since the end of April seriously impacted commercial and service activities… pulling down the growth of the service sector and the whole economy,” GSO said in a statement.
For at least three months, almost the entire country was in complete lockdown, with a huge impact on production, supply chains and businesses.
GSO head Nguyen Thi Huong gave an upbeat gloss, saying that achieving even the modest growth under such difficult circumstances was a “huge success” in remarks reported by state media.
Vietnam is now trying to reopen by shifting away from its strict “zero-covid” policy.
Around 88 percent of adults in Vietnam have been fully vaccinated, the country’s health ministry said.