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Vietnam’s long-term growth performance: A comparative perspective

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt


Vietnam has achieved remarkably high and inclusive GDP growth since the late 1980s. GDP growth per capita increased three-and-a-half-fold during 1991-2012, a performance surpassed only by China. The distribution of growth has been as remarkable as its pace: the bottom 40% of the population’s share in national income has remained virtually unchanged since the early 1990s, ensuring that the rapid income gains got translated into shared prosperity and significant poverty reduction.

GDP growth, however, has been operating on a lower trajectory since 2008. This has led to questions regarding the sustainability of the growth process, and, with it, Vietnam’s ability to bounce back to about 7-8% per capita growth. Analysts have voiced concerns over declining total factor productivity growth and growing reliance on capital accumulation. Moreover, a number of competitiveness issues routinely get raised by private investors, including: a widening skills gap, limited access to finance, relatively high trade and transport logistics costs, an overbearing presence of the SOEs, and heavy government bureaucracy that makes it difficult for businesses to operate in Vietnam.

Tiềm năng tăng trưởng của Việt Nam: Góc độ so sánh

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English


Kể từ cuối thập kỷ 80 của thế kỷ trước, Việt Nam đã có tốc độ tăng trưởng kinh tế cao với lợi ích bao trùm. GDP bình quân đầu người tăng 3,5 lần trong giai đoạn 1991-2012 — chỉ sau Trung Quốc. Cùng với tốc độ tăng trưởng, phân bố tăng trưởng cũng là một thành tích rất đáng ghi nhận: phần thu nhập quốc gia dành cho nhóm 40% dân nghèo nhất hầu như không thay đổi kể từ đầu thập kỷ 1990 tới nay, điều này đảm bảo rằng tăng trưởng kinh tế được phân phối cho mọi tầng lớp và giảm nghèo một cách đáng kể.

Tuy nhiên, kể từ 2008, tăng trưởng GDP đã đi theo một quỹ đạo thấp hơn. Qua đó đã nảy sinh một số câu hỏi về mức độ bền vững của tăng trưởng và liệu Việt Nam có thể khôi phục mức tăng GDP bình quân đầu người 7-8% hay không. Các nhà phân tích quan ngại về xu thế giảm tăng trưởng năng suất nhân tố tổng hợp và mức độ phụ thuộc ngày càng nhiều vào tích tụ vốn. Thêm vào đó, các nhà đầu tư tư nhân cũng thường xuyên nêu các vấn đề liên quan đến năng lực cạnh tranh như kỹ năng ngày càng thiếu, khó tiếp cận vốn, chi phí thương mại và kho vận tương đối cao, độc quyền của các doanh nghiệp nhà nước và bộ máy hành chính cồng kềnh gây cản trở hoạt động của doanh nghiệp.

Liability insurance for climate change

Connor Spreng's picture


Our response to climate change at the global level clearly needs improving. While some governments are managing to set and enforce limits on the emission of greenhouse gases, an international agreement that is both enforceable and meaningful remains elusive. Measures undertaken by private individuals and organizations, though plentiful, largely fail to connect to the political process and continue to fall short in aggregate. Is there a way to combine these public and private efforts? We think there is, as we’ve explored in a recent NZZ article and ETH blog post: a new type of liability insurance.

Looking to the insurance industry for addressing climate change is not new (see, for example, Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller’s column; the Geneva Association’s statement; and the climate change and insurance links discussed at the World Bank’s recent Understanding Risk conference). What has been lacking, however, are ideas for employing insurance instruments at scale, across national boundaries, and in a way that maximizes existing capacities and market mechanisms.

East Asia and Pacific countries can do better in labor regulation and social protection

Truman Packard's picture

Those unfamiliar with the fast growing emerging economies of East Asia are likely to think that governments in these countries let market forces and capitalism roam free, red in tooth and claw. That was certainly my impression before coming to work in the region, and generally that held at the outset of our work by the group of us that wrote a new World Bank report “East Asia Pacific At Work: Employment, Enterprise and Wellbeing” .

The report shows just how wrong we were. We could be forgiven this impression—many of us had come from assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean or in Europe and Central Asia, where the distortions and rigidities from labor regulation and poorly designed social protection are rife, and where policy makers cast envious looks at the stellar and sustained employment outcomes in East Asia.

Well, it turns out that although they came relatively late to labor regulation and social protection, many governments in the region have entered this arena with gusto. We were surprised to find that, going just by what is written in their labor codes, the average level of employment protection in East Asia is actually higher than the OECD average.

Will China’s economic slowdown affect its reforms?

Bingjie Hu's picture
Also available in: 中文

The latest macroeconomic data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on April 18 suggest that China’s economic growth has moderated in the first quarter of 2014. GDP growth has decelerated from 7.7 percent (year-over-year) in the last quarter of 2013 to 7.4 percent (year-over-year) in the first quarter of 2014.

On a sequential basis, the quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted growth slowed from 1.7 percent in Q4 last year to 1.4 percent in Q1 2014.

The deceleration in the first quarter of this year is in line with World Bank expectations (see our latest East Asia Economic Update) (Figure1).


Figure 1: Official growth data on the demand side reflect subdued export growth and a moderation in investment growth. Consumption led growth in the first quarter of 2014, contributing 5.7 percentage points to growth, followed by investment, contributing 3.1 percentage points. Net exports dragged down growth by 1.4 percentage points.

Many economists speculate that the weakening trend in growth may put more pressure on the government to implement more and stronger growth supportive fiscal and monetary policies, following the stimulus measures unveiled recently that include accelerated expenditures on railway construction and social housing, as well as tax breaks for small businesses.

Indonesia’s investment in flux

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

Can Indonesia’s economy move from a situation of investment in flux to an investment influx? This is one of the questions posed by the World Bank’s March 2014 edition of the Indonesia Economic Quarterly.

Why is Indonesia’s investment growth in flux? First, there has been a slowdown in fixed investment, due to lower terms of trade and tighter external financing conditions. This has helped narrow Indonesia’s external imbalances.

Second, while foreign direct investment—an important source of investment financing—has remained solid so far, the rapid growth of FDI inflows seen in recent years shows signs of plateauing.

Third, Indonesia remains reliant on external financing from portfolio investment inflows. These have surged in recent months, but they can be volatile.

Finally, recent policy developments have increased regulatory uncertainties. Add to that the usual difficulty of predicting policy ahead of elections, which may impact on investment of all kinds.

Given uncertain prospects for global investment flows to major emerging market economies like Indonesia, the good news is that Indonesia’s external balances are adjusting. The current account deficit shrank significantly in the fourth quarter of 2013, to $4.0 billion, or 2% of GDP. This is a welcome reduction from the record high of $10.0 billion in the second quarter of 2013—that’s 4.4% of GDP. The stock market rallied, gaining 9% in local currency terms, bond yields fell, and the Rupiah climbed back by 7% against the USD, year-to-date, recouping some of last year’s significant losses. Banking and portfolio inflows also rose in the final quarter of 2013*.

But some caution is warranted. The adjustment has been narrowly based on tighter monetary policy and currency depreciation over the second half of 2013, and slower investment growth. Indonesia remains vulnerable to a renewed deterioration of global market conditions.

Investasi yang tak menentu di Indonesia

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: English

Dapatkah ekonomi Indonesia keluar dari keadaan investasi yang tak menentu? Ini adalah salah satu pertanyaan yang diajukan dalam laporan Perkembangan Triwulanan Perekonomian Indonesia dari Bank Dunia edisi bulan Maret 2014.

Mengapa pertumbuhan investasi Indonesia tak menentu? Pertama, terdapat perlambatan dalam investasi tetap, karena turunnya kondisi perdagangan dan lebih ketatnya kondisi pembiayaan luar negeri.

Kedua, sementara investasi asing langsung (FDI)—sumber pembiayaan investasi yang penting—masih tetap kuat sejauh ini, laju pertumbuhan aliran masuk FDI yang tercatat pada beberapa tahun terakhir menunjukkan tanda-tanda mendatar.

Ketiga, Indonesia tetap bergantung kepada pembiayaan luar negeri dari aliran masuk modal investasi portofolio. Aliran itu telah meningkat pada beberapa bulan terakhir, namun dapat bersifat volatil.

Akhirnya, perkembangan kebijakan terakhir telah meningkatkan ketidakpastian peraturan. Hal itu menambah kepada sulitnya memperkirakan kebijakan menjelang pemilu, yang dapat berdampak kepada seluruh jenis investasi.

Dengan ketidakpastian prospek aliran investasi global ke ekonomi-ekonomi pasar berkembang seperti Indonesia, kabar baiknya adalah bahwa neraca eksternal Indonesia sedang melakukan penyesuaian. Defisit neraca berjalan menyusut secara signifikan pada kuartal terakhir tahun 2013 menjadi 4,0 miliar dolar AS, atau 2 persen dari PDB. Penurunan ini merupakan hal yang menggembirakan karena defisit pernah mencapai catatan tertinggi sebesar 10,0 miliar dolar AS pada kuartal kedua tahun 2013—yang merupakan 4,4 persen dari PDB. Pasar saham kembali naik, dengan mencatat peningkatan sebesar 9 persen dalam mata uang lokal, imbal hasil (yield) obligasi turun, dan Rupiah menguat sebesar 7 persen terhadap dolar AS, selama tahun berjalan, yang menutup sebagian penurunan yang signifikan pada tahun lalu. Aliran masuk modal portofolio dan perbankan juga meningkat pada kuartal penutup tahun 2013*.

Namun sejumlah hal perlu diwaspadai. Sejauh ini penyesuaian itu terutama berdasarkan pada kebijakan moneter yang lebih ketat dan depresiasi valuta selama paruh kedua tahun 2013, dan—seperti telah disinggung—melambatnya pertumbuhan investasi. Indonesia tetap rawan terhadap kemungkinan penurunan kembali kondisi pasar dunia.

Indonesia’s “continuing adjustment”

Alex Sienaert's picture


2013 has been a year of adjustment for Indonesia’s economy.  In the recent edition of the Indonesia Economic Quarterly report, the flagship publication of the World Bank Indonesia office, we asked the questions: what are the drivers of this adjustment and how should policy respond?

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