The Economist writes this week that “the global slowdown is casting a lengthening shadow over Vietnam’s once-booming [manufacturing for] export-driven economy.  Sales of more conventional consumer goods have slumped as the fast-growing middle class has stopped spending.”  Exports have fallen 5.1% year-on-year in the first two months of 2009; a sixth of the government’s recent stimulus plan thus targets cash-strapped exporters through increased commercial bank lending.


That said, some bullish signs of late: the VN-Index finished up 1.63% on Monday despite a World Bank report predicting that the global economy will likely contract in 2009 for the first time since World War II.  And on Tuesday, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade announced plans to boost bilateral trade and petroleum projects with African countries, to $1.6 billion this year and to $1.8 billion in 2010.