Regular readers will know that I’ve long been optimistic about Vietnam. For most of that time, the market has resolutely declined to play along, so 2013 has been a pleasant surprise so far – the VN Index is up almost 20% since the start of the year.
However, it remains to be seen if those gains will stick. There’s still plenty for policymakers to do in terms of sorting out the economy’s many problems (FT Beyond Brics has a quick primer), although they seem to be making some progress and deals like Mitsubishi UFJ’s recent agreement to buy a 20% stake in VietinBank can be see as a long-term vote of confidence.
And despite the slowdown in growth, there is the odd spot of good news – exports were up almost 20% year-on-year in 2012, reflecting the country’s improving position in manufacturing, as Capital Economics notes: