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The economy expanded by 5.42% in 2013, down from the 6% recorded in 2012, while inflation was contained at 6.04%, lower than the government target of 7% and the lowest level in 10 years. Despite sluggish global growth, exports rose by 15.4% in 2013, and in January 2014 HSBC forecast that export growth would accelerate over 2014 to 20%, helping GDP to grow by 5.6% during the year. HSBC predicted that inflation would pick up and average 7.9% in 2014 due to higher energy and food prices. The country traditionally posts a trade deficit, but it recorded a surplus of US$900 million in 2013 following a marginal surplus in 2012. The export gains in 2013 were led by a rebound of garment and textile shipments, while the year also saw a surge in new foreign investment in electronics. In January 2013 the ratings agency Fitch estimated that Vietnam would record a current account surplus of 5% of GDP during the year, compared to 5.8% in 2012. Strong foreign direct investment inflows, at 6.8% of GDP in 2013, continued to underpin the expansion of the manufacturing/export sector. However, Fitch estimated that foreign exchange reserves stood at US$28.6 billion at end December 2013 (US$26.1 billion at end 2012), equivalent to 2.4 months of current external payments.

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Further reading on Vietnam


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