As a leading financial newspaper run by Japanese media giants Nikkei Inc., Nikkei Asia have stated that, “Southeast Asia’s growth leader in 2021 may well be Vietnam”, during a recent article detailing ASEAN’s GDP forecasts for the year ahead.
According to Nikkei, the country recorded economic growth of 2.9% last year due to its success in containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in addition to the robust exports of electronics and other consumer products, with the nation reportedly targeting a growth rate of 6.5% this year.
The Japanese media also quote a report produced by Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics, who notes that Vietnamese exports should continue to be supported by tariffs imposed by the United States on Chinese goods.
“To avoid US tariffs, importers have shifted demand from China to alternative suppliers. With US-China relations likely to remain strained over the years ahead, this trend is likely to continue,” Leather noted.
Nikkei also stress that before the pandemic, Southeast Asia achieved collective annual growth of approximately 5% over the course of many years, therefore making it one of the world’s best-performing regions in economic terms.
According to media reports, the region has become an attractive investment destination, with a relatively young population that drives demand and provides plenty of manufacturing labour. Although these factors can be viewed as advantages that can boost economic growth, the region’s top priority in the short term is to stamp out COVID-19.