Scientific conference on Macroeconomic Risks and Prospects for Vietnam in 2013

On January 30th, 2013, VNU University of Economics and Business and Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) held a scientific conference on Macroeconomic Risks and Prospects for Vietnam in 2013.

This is the annual conference for economic experts, researchers and policymakers to discuss different ideological viewpoints and the implementation of macroeconomic policies in the current context, as well as point out opportunities for the Vietnamese economy in the next years.
In 2012, Vietnam experienced the lowest economic growth since the late of 1990s. Since the macroecononomic picture showed both light and dark colors, the analysis and evaluation of the economy’s risks seemed to be controversial. There was a thought that the decline in growth was a reasonable sacrifice for macroeconomic stability. Therefore positive signs gradually appeared. On the contrary, there was also another thought that signs of macroeconomic stability were just the consequence of economic downturn and could contain greater risks in the long-term.
In this context, the conference attracted a number of leading scholars, experts and researchers in the fields of economics, politics and diplomacy from well-known and prestigious institutions including Vietnam Institute of Economics, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Centre for Analysis and Forecasting (Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences), National Institute for Finance (Ministry of Finance), Development Strategy Institute (Ministry of Planning and Investment), Hanoi Institute for Socio-Economic Development Studies, etc. Moreover, many senior officials from the Economic Department (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center (Ministry of Industry and Trade), and international organizations such as UNDP, USAID and Irish Aid as well as lecturers and students from various universities also attended the workshop.
In the opening of the conference, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son, Rector of UEB delivered a speech to all participants. After that, Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of VEPR presented the study titled "A Review of the Vietnamese Economy in 2012 and policy issues for 2013". Dr. Thanh argued that the possibility of continuing the recovery trend would not be certain despite positive signs in the second half of 2012. It was reflected by the growth rate of only 5.03%, well below the target.
Additionally, other important macroeconomic variables have not represented a stable outlook in the future such as average inflation of around 10%, increased budget deficit, decreased growth rate of retail revenue, contracted total social investment, stagnated FDI, trade surplus but much from foreign investment areas, low imports because of the appreciation in the domestic currency, low credit growth, redundant liquidity, and a partial decline in the real estate market, etc.
The presentation continued with forecasts about the prospects of the Vietnamese economy in 2013. As the growth rate was expected to be around 5.2-5.3%, there would be no significant change compared to 2012. Dr. Thanh also propose several important policy recommendations in order to promote the recovery of the economy.
The second presentation was Dr. Le Quoc Phuong’s “Some Factors Affect the World and Vietnamese Economies”. By using IMF forecasts, Dr. Phuong summarized the development of the world and Vietnamese economies in 2012, and analyzed both the advantages and disadvantages as well as potential risks may affect the prospects in 2013. To conclude, Dr. Phuong raised some open questions for discussion based on those analysis and the economic targets set by the Government for 2013.
Finally, Economic expert Bui Trinh gave a presentation on practical considerations related to the Vietnamese economy. Based on the data from various sources, he analyzed different aspects of the economy in recent years and also propose some policy recommendations for 2013 and the coming period.
During the main discussion session of the conference, the experts gave valuable and contributive comments about the presentations, discussed the ideological viewpoints and the implementation of macroeconomic policies in the current context, and pointed out opportunities for the economy in the next years.

The conference draws the attention of many participants

Vu Minh Long (VEPR)

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