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Socio-Economic Infor 2013

Socio-economic situation in February and the first two months of 2013
19/03/2013 18:23:00

1. Regarding the implementation of the priority objectives of inflation curbing and macro-economic stabilization

- Prices and inflation: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in February, 2013 increased by 1.32% against the previous month and was the lowest in the last four years [1]; of which: food and catering services rose by 2.28% (food, in particular, up 3%); beverage and tobacco increased by 1.5%; apparel, headwear and footwear inched up 1.08%; goods and other services rose by 1.07%. Other commodity groups increased slightly by approximately 0.02% to 0.8%. Only prices of postal services and telecommunications decreased by 0.03%.

Slightly increasing CPI in the month, which hosted the Lunar New Year festival, was attributed to the drastic, effective measures and policies implemented by sectors and branches under the direction of the Prime Minister. These measures included strengthening the monitoring of market prices, supply and demand of goods, combating the smuggling of contraband and fake products, tax evasion …etc. Good supply of goods, which were diverse in types and models, and a moderate increase in purchasing power (20-25% more than usual), which mostly occurred on the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, have contributed to stabilizing market prices.

The rising demand for consumption and travel during the Lunar New Year holiday was the main reason behind the increasing prices of food and catering services, beverage and tobacco, and passenger fares (car fares increased by over 11%; railway fares up nearly 3%). In addition, the demand for new clothes and footwear to welcome the Lunar New Year also added weight to the prices of these products, thus contributing to the CPI increase.

CPI in February 2013 increased by 2.59% compared to that in December 2012 and by 7.02% against the same period of last year. The rise marked the lowest in the recent years [2]; the first two months’ average CPI rose 7.04% over the same period of 2012.

- Imports and exports: total export turnover in the first two months of the year was estimated at US$18.97 billion, up 23.9% from the same period in 2012; total imports were estimated at US$17.3 billion, or a year-on-year increase of 10.2%. It resulted in a trade surplus of about US$1.68 billion.

- Investment for development: In the first two months of the year, the implemented foreign direct investment was estimated at US$1,050 million, up 5% over the same period in 2012; ODA disbursement reached US$120 million, equal to about 2.6% of the yearly plan (consisting of about US$105 million in loans and US$15 million in non-refundable aid).

2. Regarding the implementation of the economic growth target

- Industrial production: The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in the first two months of the year rose by 6.8% compared to the same period in 2012; The IIP of the mining industry increased by 1.8%; the processing and manufacturing posted a 7.9% growth rate; the production and distribution of electricity and gas saw a 11.7% growth; and the water supply, waste management and treatment witnessed a 9.9% growth.

IIP growth rates in the first two months of a number of key sectors: the manufacturing of ready-to-wear garments with 18.9%; the footwear production, 35.9%; the cement industry, 19.4%; the production of communication equipment, 26.4%; etc.

- Agriculture, forestry and fisheries: In the first 15 days of February 2013, 2,649,600 hectares nationwide were grown with winter-spring rice, an increase of 10.3% against the same period of last year. As many as 281,000 hectares of winter-spring rice crop in the Mekong Delta, the country’s granary, were harvested, up 32.6% from the corresponding time of last year. The sustainable growth in cattle and poultry breeding met consumption demand during the Lunar New Year holiday.

In the first two months of the year, the concentrated afforested area was estimated at more than 1,200 hectares, an increase of 6.5% over the same period in 2012. Due to dry weather, the risk of forest fires in some areas was likely high [3]. The estimated total fishing and aquaculture output in the first two months of the year was 722,500 tons, an increase of 0.4% against the same period of last year; of which aquaculture estimatedly fell by 1.7%; while fishing increased by 2%.

- Services sector: In the first two months of the year, the total turnover of retail goods and consumer services reached VND422.2 trillion, up 10.9% over the same period in 2012; goods transportation up 5.7%; circulation of goods fell by 4.1%; passenger transport increased by 7.6%; passenger transfer rose by 6.2%; international arrivals in Vietnam was estimated at over 1.21 million, down 9.6% compared to the same period in 2012.

3. Regarding social security, health care, culture and other social sectors

- Labor and employment: In the first two months of the year, an estimated 200,000 jobs were created, equaling 12.5% of the yearly plan, of which around 12,000 laborers were sent to work abroad.

- Traffic order and safety: According to preliminary statistics, from January 16, 2013 to February 15, 2013, 1,117 traffic accidents occurred nationwide, killing 1,035 people and injuring 721 others. The figures saw increases of 14.92%, 16.29% and 24.31% in terms of the number of traffic accidents, death and injury from the previous month.

- Social security and poverty reduction continued to receive attention and were well implemented. During the Lunar New Year holiday, agencies at all levels strictly implemented the Decisions of the President and the Prime Minister [4] on visiting and presenting gifts to those who had contributed to the revolution, giving gifts worth more than VND393.5 billion to nearly 1.9 million people; and providing 29,092 tons of rice as hunger relief to 18 provinces during the Lunar New Year holiday and between-crop period in 2013.

Localities also used local budgets and mobilized social resources for organizing visits and presenting gifts with total value of more than VND800 billion. Agencies at all levels, socio-political organizations, social organizations, enterprises and philanthropists also took many practical activities to help the invalids, sick soldiers, relatives of martyrs, families who had contributed to the revolution, Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, beneficiaries of social policies, especially the poor, ethnic minorities, people living in remote and extremely difficult areas, enjoy the Lunar New Year festival; as well as provided free travel home for poor students for Lunar New Year celebrations; and organized cosy traditional Lunar New Year celebrations for Vietnamese living overseas./.

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Socio-economic information in January 2013
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