News / Asia

Inflation Squeezes Vietnamese Workers

A local commercial bank staff receives bricks of dong bank notes from a customer in Hanoi, February 23, 2011
A local commercial bank staff receives bricks of dong bank notes from a customer in Hanoi, February 23, 2011

Vietnam recently devalued its currency, the dong, by 9.3 percent against the dollar. Analysts say soaring inflation here makes life harder for many Vietnamese workers.

Consumer prices in Vietnam this January were more than 12 percent higher than they were a year ago, reflecting rising costs of food, fuel and household goods.

High inflation is putting pressure on workers.

Nguyen Huy Thinh drives a bus in downtown Hanoi. He says he has trouble getting by on his $250 monthly salary. He says that while prices for gasoline and electricity are increasing, his salary stays the same. That makes it hard to support his family.

Despite a decade of strong growth, Vietnam had a $12.4 billion trade deficit last year, and inflation surpassed 11 percent for the year, despite the government’s attempt to limit it to 8 percent.

To contain inflation and cut the trade deficit, Vietnam devalued its currency, the dong, by 9.3 percent against the dollar earlier this month. The devaluation was the fourth since 2009.

Both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's downgraded Vietnam’s sovereign debt rating in December after state-owned shipbuilding conglomerate Vinashin defaulted on payment for a $600 million.

Having a lower rating makes it harder for Vietnam to borrow money abroad.

Adam McCarty is the chief economist for the consulting firm Mekong Economics, in Vietnam. He says the economy is not in crisis, but inflation is taking a toll on average workers.

"Normally poorer-than-average people on salaries or pensions are the ones who lose when inflation is high, and then more broadly, the pace of generating new jobs slows down somewhat if the economy’s got trouble," McCarty said.

McCarty said inflation also makes it harder for middle-class Vietnamese to buy property.

Some financial market analysts praise Vietnam for devaluing the dong, saying the new value better reflects prices on the black market, where traders exchange dong for gold and dollars. But other economists have warned that the government may need to do more to cap inflation and protect the economy.


You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs