Vietnam would remain the only country with positive growth among five major economies in ASEAN, and its economic expansion would rebound to 6.7 percent in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund’s October 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update released on Wednesday.
The IMF has revised its forecast for Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 1.6 percent in 2020 from a previous estimate of 2.7 percent in June.
Vietnam, however, remains the only country among major economies in ASEAN-5, which includes Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, expected to deliver positive growth this year.
Overall, ASEAN-5 economies are expected to contract 3.4 percent in 2020, before expanding 6.2 percent in 2021.
The IMF forecast that Vietnam’s GDP in 2020 may exceed US$340 billion, higher than Singapore ($337 billion) and the Philippines ($367 billion).
Meanwhile, the nation’s GDP per capita could increase from $3,416 in 2019 to $3,500 at the end of this year.
Vietnamese are poised to become richer than Filipinos starting this year, in another direct consequence of the pandemic and how the two governments have addressed the health crisis differently, The Philippine Star – an English-language print and digital newspaper in the Philippines – commented.
“Worse, if IMF estimates are to be believed, Filipinos’ income is unlikely to catch up with that of the Vietnamese in the next 5 years,” The Philippine Star wrote.
Vietnam’s GDP increased 2.12 percent in January-September, according to the General Statistics Office.
Although the slowest growth in the past decade, it has to be considered a success given the heavy toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the global economy.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in early October, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called for more efforts to achieve a GDP growth rate of 2.5-3 percent this year.