Market Overview

This is Asia’s top-performing economy in the Covid pandemic — it’s not China

Vietnam is likely the top-performing Asian economy in 2020 — a feat that was achieved without a single quarter of economic contraction at a time when many economies globally were weighed down by the coronavirus pandemic. Not every Asian economy has reported fourth-quarter and full-year economic numbers. But estimates compiled by CNBC from official sources — where available — and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund showed Vietnam outperforming all its regional peers last year.

The Vietnamese economy grew 2.9% last year from a year ago, according to government estimates released in late December. That’s better than China’s forecast-beating 2.3% growth during the same period. “With this performance, Vietnam has delivered one of the highest growth (rates) in a year where the rest of the world were in deep recessions,” economists from Bank of America Global Research said in a report this month.

Some economists have over the past years questioned the veracity of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) data. Nevertheless, many economists appeared to be optimistic that the country’s economic growth will accelerate this year. Here’s a look at how Vietnam became the top-performing economy in the region, and what lies ahead for the country. Despite neighboring China — where Covid-19 was first detected — Vietnam has reported just over 1,500 infections and 35 deaths as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Vietnam’s manufacturing sector was widely credited for the economy’s outperformance last year, with production growing on the back of steady export demand. That’s a trend that will persist in the coming years, said economists.

This is Asia’s top-performing economy in the Covid pandemic — it’s not China, CNBC, Jan 28

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