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Coronavirus to hit Vietnam’s GDP growth: PM
The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Feb 5, 2020,18:51 (GMT+7)

Coronavirus to hit Vietnam’s GDP growth: PM

The Saigon Times Daily

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at a Cabinet meeting in Hanoi today, February 5. He urged government agencies to make every effort to rein in the spread of a deadly coronavirus, which was first detected in China – PHOTO: VGP

HANOI – The spread of a new coronavirus could reduce Vietnam’s gross domestic growth in the first quarter of this year by one percentage point, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told a Cabinet meeting in Hanoi today, February 5.

Phuc was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that bold measures must be taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, but these measures should be designed in a way that would not affect the country’s socioeconomic development.

A national steering committee has been set up to control the rapidly spreading virus, according to the Government leader.

He reiterated his stance that the Government stands ready to accept economic losses to safeguard the safety and health of the Vietnamese.

Though Vietnam has robust cross-border trade with China, where the coronavirus is raging, the country has so far kept the epidemic under control, according to Phuc.

He noted that the country has so far reported a total of 10 confirmed cases of the virus, with three having fully recovered, while the rest are in stable condition.

In the spirit of fighting the outbreak as one “fights an enemy,” PM Phuc stressed the need for drastic measures to concurrently ensure economic growth and combat the epidemic.

The outbreak will certainly have an adverse impact on economic growth in Vietnam and other countries, especially in the sectors of aviation, agriculture, securities, tourism and export, he noted.

The Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, in January was quite long, so GDP growth in the first quarter of this year could slow by roughly one percentage point, he noted.

He hailed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s efforts to put forward solutions to restructure agricultural production and seek new export markets beyond mainland China.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Vietnam plans to ease monetary policy to inject more cash into the economy over fears that the virus outbreak could lead to an economic slowdown.

Though difficulties appeared right from the onset of 2020, the PM said that the Government had yet to look into whether the growth forecast for this year should be revised down or not.

As rapid response teams have been established to cope with the virus, similar teams in charge of economy, finance and production should also be set up to respond to a possible economic slowdown.

He also called for efforts to overcome difficulties to drive the Vietnamese economy forward and meet the people’s aspirations.

He demanded that ministries and central agencies present measures to ensure macroeconomic stability and major economic balances as well as promote production activities.

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