Vietnam Economic Data:

Assessment of Availability and Quality

NSIAD-99-109: Published: Jun 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the economy of Vietnam, focusing on the availability, transparency, and quality of published economic and trade data on Vietnam.

GAO noted that: (1) Vietnam has released data on a number of key economic indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP), imports and exports, foreign investments, and growth rates; (2) however, it has not made available some other important data on the economy; (3) it does not publish the state budget and does not provide standard financial information used by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its monthly International Financial Statistics (IFS) publication; (4) virtually all countries in the world, including transitional economies and the poorest countries, publish their country pages in the IFS; (5) when data is available, it is highly aggregated and difficult to interpret because the data collection, analysis, and reporting methods used to produce it are not transparent or readily available to users; (6) while the quality of the data has improved in recent years, published indicators such as GDP contain weaknesses because they do not include important components of the economy; (7) for example, small businesses, the service sector, and remittances from overseas are underreported, while growth and foreign investment estimates may be overestimated; (8) without more accurate data, it is difficult to effectively evaluate economic conditions in Vietnam and identify economic and financial problems that may be occurring; and (9) several international agencies, such as the IMF and the World Bank, have recognized that data deficiencies exist and are providing technical and financial assistance to the Vietnamese government to help it improve the availability and quality of its data.

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