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Vietnam’s public debt per capita surpasses $1,000 mark

Monday, October 12, 2015, 13:16 GMT+7
Vietnam’s public debt per capita surpasses $1,000 mark
This caricature depicts how Vietnam is burdened by the public debt caused by haphazard spending.

Vietnam’s public debt per capita has increased nearly fourfold and surpassed the US$1,000 mark over the last decade, the latest data by The Economist shows.

As of Sunday, the public debt of the Southeast Asian country had totaled $92.64 billion, or $1,016 per person, according to the global debt clock run by the English-language weekly magazine.

Vietnam’s public debt, which accounted for 46 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, grew 9.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

In 2005, the figure was only $22.3 billion, and the public debt per capita stood at $268.

Vietnam’s public debt has risen more than four times that in ten years, even though the per capita figure remains within the average level, according to The Economist.

Data provided by the global debt clock, however, differs from statistics by some Vietnamese agencies.

The Ministry of Finance announced late last month Vietnam’s public debt is projected to make up 62.3 percent of GDP by the end of this year, much higher than the 46 percent calculated by the London-based newspaper.

In late September, a research agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment said the debt occupies 66.4 percent of GDP.

A calculation by the World Bank indicated that the public debt to GDP ratio of Vietnam is 59 percent.

The finance ministry, however, asserted at a press meeting on October 2 that they are the “only agency authorized to announce information regarding public debts” as per current laws, according to newswire VnExpress.

Vietnam's lawmaking National Assembly currently sets a cap of 65 percent on the public debt/GDP ratio.

The country's public debt is way behind that of such regional countries as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Singapore’s public debt is $336.06 billion, whereas the respective figures of Indonesia and Thailand are $301.3 billion and $261.29 billion, according to the global debt clock.

Singapore has the largest public debt/GDP ratio in Southeast Asia, 93.1 percent, while Indonesia is the lowest, at 25.9 percent.

As of Monday, the current global public debt stands at $57.14 trillion, up around five percent from the same period last year, according to The Economist.

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