Vietnam's Q1 Growth Higher Year-On-Year

A saleswoman checks goods on a shelf at a homeware mall in Hanoi on 29 March, 2022. (AFP Photo)

Vietnam's economy expanded more than five percent in the first three months of the year, the government said Tuesday thanks to a pick-up in exports as the country emerges from the worst of the global pandemic, though officials warned of headwinds.

The ASEAN member state has long been a success story among Asian economies, posting growth of seven percent in 2019.

But growth came in at just 2.9 percent in 2020 as the pandemic shut most of the world down, while last year saw just 2.6 percent expansion. The figures were the worst the country has experienced since the mid-1980s.

However, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said gross domestic product (GDP) came in at 5.03 percent on-year.

Turnover from exports of goods in the first quarter was at US$88.58 billion, up by 12.9 percent on-year, the GSO added.

"While the economy continues to show resilience and is recovering, downside risks have heightened as the Omicron infections are sweeping the country and the Russia-Ukraine conflict has increased uncertainty about global economic recovery," the World Bank said in a report on Vietnam in March.

"Authorities should encourage exporters to seek new markets and innovate into new products through global value chains and existing free trade agreements to strengthen export resilience," it added.

After almost two years of closure and strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Vietnam began reopening to the world in mid-March, easing medical requirements and quarantine rules.

The country still reports more than 260,000 cases of virus infections a day, but hospitalisation and death rates are relatively low, the health ministry said.

More than 90 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated, with the government urging vaccinations for teenagers and accelerating booster shots rollout.