Vietnam shines despite Southeast Asia's struggles with trade and emerging market pressures

Vietnam — with its economy growing at its fastest pace in eight years in the first half of 2018 — is defying the stress in emerging markets as its Southeast Asian rivals face an uncertain outlook driven by trade war risks and a stronger dollar.

The threat of an escalating global trade conflict is weighing on prospects for export-dependent economies like Singapore and Malaysia, while Indonesia and the Philippines face challenges funding their high levels of external debt as their currencies come under pressure from a rising U.S. dollar.

Despite the spillover into Asia, Vietnam's geographical proximity to China and its historically strong political and economic links with Beijing are paying dividends. Facing cost pressures created by U.S. trade tariffs, Chinese manufacturers are starting to shift production away from the mainland into cheaper Asian locations such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. South Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese firms are already invested in Vietnam.


Many of the countries in ASEAN — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — are in a far stronger economic position than during the financial crisis of the late 1990s. But the latest fluctuations from emerging market worries, together with global trade frictions, raise questions about who will be impacted the hardest, what the contagion risk for the region will be like, and how best to limit the impact of outflows and currency weakness.

Policymakers and business leaders meeting in Hanoi at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN will attempt to discuss ways to mitigate what Mizuho strategists call a "double-barrelled U.S. shotgun" of a more hawkish Federal Reserve and U.S. President Donald Trump"upping the ante on trade war risks."

"What we are looking at now is a sign of regional EM (emerging markets) differentiation, because certain markets don't warrant the negativity," said Dwyfor Evans, the head of Asia Pacific macro strategy at State Street Global Markets.

"If the U.S. is unable to offset lower Chinese imports by reshoring manufacturing, then continued strong demand conditions in the U.S. will have to be met from alternative sources," he said. "I will not import toys from China. Instead, I will import from Vietnam, so trade wars and protectionism actually end up as a positive for Vietnam."

Foreign investors

Vietnam received an estimated $11.25 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the January to August period, up 9.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, the investment ministry said last month. In 2017, Vietnam received a record $17.5 billion in FDI.

"A lot of companies are relocating," said Robert Subbaraman, head of emerging markets economics at Nomura told CNBC on Monday. "FDI inflows in particular have been very strong and have been providing good balance of payment support for Vietnam."

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Though current fundamentals look "pretty good," Subbaraman said Vietnam must exercise caution on the fiscal front. Policymakers must ensure the budget deficit doesn't blow out and the economy doesn't overheat. "That often happens when you get the very strong inflows and companies moving in."

Michael Langford, executive director at Airguide, a corporate advisory and consultancy, said Sino-U.S. trade tensions "politically will tighten the relationship between China and Vietnam."

"Many Chinese firms have factories located in Vietnam now. Companies from battery manufacturers like Vision, through to furniture and textile manufacturing," he added.

Vietnam may yet be a victim of its own success as it moves up the value chain from low-margin textiles to high-tech products.

"Binary risks around growth are intensifying as a protectionist U.S. puts the key exports engine at the risk of sputtering abruptly," said Mizuho's Vishnu Varathan in regional economic quarterly research published on Aug. 7. "We expect that longer term boost to inward investments into Vietnam remains a compelling proposition; as the natural 'flow down' of industries from China is hastened by trade war risks."

Vietnam is a heavily trade-dependent economy with a trade-to-GDP ratio of approximately 200 percent "and rising," according to Standard Chartered Bank economist, Chidu Narayanan.

Still, FDI inflows are set to remain high in 2018, led by manufacturing which makes up close to 50 percent of inflows, Narayanan said in research published in late June.

Standard Chartered expects both registered and implemented FDI to be close to $15 billion in 2018, moderating from $21 billion in 2017, he said.

"Vietnam has benefited from its participation in regional trade pacts, a young and educated population, a still-cheap and growing labour force, and geographical proximity to China," he said.

"This should continue to attract strong FDI inflows in the coming years."


Sri Jegarajah - Senior Correspondent, CNBC

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Depuis sa politique d’ouverture économique initiée en 1986, par la mise en place du Đổi Mới, le Vietnam a enregistré des performances économiques impressionnantes avec des taux de croissance moyens de 7% l’an. D’un PIB de 15 milliards de USD en 1992, le Vietnam affiche en 2017 un produit intérieur brut d’environ 225 milliards de USD.

Cette croissance s’est faite en partie grâce à l’investissement étranger qui en 2018 se monte à environ 333 milliards de USD (montant cumulé depuis l’ouverture du Vietnam aux capitaux d’investissements étrangers en 1987).

Si les premiers investisseurs étrangers au Vietnam restent les pays asiatiques, la France et l’Europe ont leur carte à jouer, notamment dans certains secteurs porteurs comme (entre-autres) les nouvelles technologies de l’information, le secteur de la santé, l’agro-alimentaire…

Cependant pour saisir les opportunités de ce marché prometteur, quelquefois difficile d’accès, il convient de disposer, en premier lieu, d’une information opérationnelle fiable permettant une première appréhension du marché vietnamien. Information opérationnelle située entre une information générale macroéconomique souvent gratuite mais de peu de valeur pour l’entreprise et une information très spécifique, micro et souvent trop chère pour des structures économiques moyennes.

Le but du site d’informations Việt Pháp Strategies ( est de vous fournir, en français, en vietnamien et en anglais une information contextuelle sur l’environnement économique vietnamien ; une information opérationnelle dans les domaines cités ci-dessus ainsi qu’une information ciblée autour de dossier thématiques dont des demandes spécifiques pourront être formulées à la demande.

Ce site collaboratif sera alimenté par des agrégations de flux RSS qualifiés pour ce qui concerne les informations d’environnement économique vietnamien et alimenter par un groupe de rédacteurs spécialistes du Vietnam pour les informations sectorielles et les dossiers thématiques.

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Từ khi lãnh đạo Việt Nam đã tung ra chính sách « mở cửa » năm 1986, kinh tế Việt Nam đã không ngừng phát triển với tỷ lệ tăng trưởng một năm đạt khoảng 7%. Từ một tổng sản phẩm quốc nội đạt 15 tỷ USD năm 1992 lên đến 225 tỷ USD năm 2017.

Sự tăng trưởng này một phần đã dựa vào vốn đầu tư trực tiếp nước ngoài mà tổng số vào kinh tế Việt Nam đạt khoảng 333 tỷ USD vào năm 2018 (từ khi Việt Nam cho phép nhà đầu tư nước ngoài vào thị trường Viêt Nam năm 1987).

Mặc dù các nhà đầu tu nước ngoài hàng đầu tại Việt Nam vẫn là nhà đầu tư các nước Châu Á, Pháp và Châu Âu cũng có cơ hội trong một số lĩnh vực kinh tế như : công nghệ thông tin, y tế, và chế biến nông sản…

Để nắm được các cơ hội trên thị trường đầy tiềm năng này, mà là một thị trường hơi khó để tiếp cận, nhà đầu tư cần có, trước hết, một số thông tin « thực dụng » chính xác về môi trường kinh doanh để cho phép có một lợi thế khi vào thị trường này. Loại thông tin này nằm ở giữa thông tin vĩ mô chung chung (thường là miễn phí) mà ít có « giá trị » còn thông tin vi mô, chi tiết có « giá trị cao » thì được dành cho ít công ty vì giá cao và không phù hợp với công ty vừa và nhỏ cần thông tin để khởi động các hoạt động của họ trên thị trường Việt Nam.

Mũ tiêu của trang web thông tin Việt Pháp Strategies ( là để cung cấp các thông tin « thực dụng » (bằng tiếng Việt, Pháp, Anh) về môi trường kinh doanh tai Việt Nam có lợi cho các hoạt đông của công ty vừa và nhỏ ; những thông tin về các lĩnh vực mô tả trên, và thông tin chi tiết theo nhu cầu của khách hàng.

Trang web này sẽ có hai phương pháp để cung cấp thông tin cho khách hàng. Một số dong RSS tự động hóa dành cho thông tin về môi trường kinh doanh. Hai là một nhóm chuyên gia kinh doanh sẽ viết thông tin về các lĩnh vực kinh tế và thông tin chi tiết theo nhu cầu của khách hàng.

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Các bạn hãy gửi lại cho tôi lời bình luận của các bạn cho phép tôi phát triển chất lượng của trang web này.


Since its economic opening initiated in 1986 through the launch of the Đổi Mới policy, Vietnam recorded impressive economic performances with average growth rates of 7% per annum. From a GDP of USD 15 billion in 1992, Vietnam reached a gross domestic product of approximately USD 225 billion in 2017.

This growth was reached partly thanks to the flow of foreign investments, which in 2018 amounted to approximately USD 333 billion (cumulated amount since the opening of Vietnam to foreign investment capital in 1987).

Although Asian countries remain the first foreign investors in Vietnam, France and Europe do have a card to play, in particular in specific sectors such as (among others): Information Technologies, health sector, food industry…

However to catch the opportunities of this promising market, sometimes difficult to access, it is necessary to resort to reliable operational information, which will allow to get a first grasp of the Vietnamese market. This operational information lies between the macroeconomic general news, which are free but of little value to the company, and very specific news, micro information, often too expensive to be affordable for small and medium enterprises.

The goal of the Việt Pháp Strategies information website ( is to provide you, in French, Vietnamese and English, contextual information about the Vietnamese economic environment, as well as operational information regarding the economic sectors mentioned above, and targeted information structured around thematic issues upon request.

On our collaborative website, information about the Vietnamese economic environment will be automatically updated through aggregations of qualified RSS flows, while news regarding specific sectors and thematic topics will be provided by a group of qualified Vietnamese Economy specialists.

Please feel free to send us your feedback so that we can improve the quality of our services.