|Prices are anticipated to remain on a stable trend this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ|
HÀ NỘI — Economic experts forecast prices would be stable in 2018 and might even see a slight decrease, with inflation under control.
The market anticipates no unexpected price shocks this year, said Nguyễn Tiến Thỏa, chairman of the Việt Nam Valuation Association. He, however, stressed that a close watch must be kept on factors, which might be disadvantageous to inflation control.
Thỏa said prices of global commodities tended to increase, such as oil, gas and coal, which might affect domestic prices, in addition to expanding credit growth, exchange rates and impacts of an increase in power prices, wages and other goods set by the State, as well as unpredictable natural disasters and diseases.
Thỏa said that attention must be paid to controlling inflation from the first months of this year. “It is critical to ensure an adequate supply of goods, to cut costs (including production costs, interest rates and road fees) and to have an appropriate roadmap for a government-set increase in prices,” he said.
“The root of inflation must be handled: it is economic restructuring, renovating the growth model, improving productivity and stabilising the macro-economy,” he said.
Economic expert Ngô Trí Long said that the price increase of several public services and foods would insert pressure on inflation, but the government’s inflation of below 4 per cent in 2018 would be within reach.
Sharing the same viewpoint, Nguyễn Ngọc Tuyến, from the Academy of Finance, forecast that inflation could be at 3-3.5 per cent this year.
According to the National Financial Supervisory Committee, if there were no sudden developments, inflation in 2018 would be below 4 per cent. However, inflation might rise if power prices were hiked significantly, the committee said, estimating that an 8-10 per cent increase in electricity price would increase inflation by 0.1-0.15 percentage points.
Still, Việt Nam should not focus too much on growth figures, but pay more attention to growth quality and growth model renovation, according to Nguyễn Đức Thành, Director of Việt Nam Institute for Economic and Policy Research.
“Việt Nam needs to focus on restructuring the economy, in line with renovating the growth model and creating a strong domestic business community, which is capable of competing in the integration progress,” he said.
Thành said there was still significant room for growth, such as boosting the State-owned economic sector, disbursement of public investment, developing the private sector and foreign direct investment.
To achieve an average growth rate of 6.5 per cent in 2016-20, Thành said the country should continue hastening institutional reforms, improving the business climate and enhancing productivity. “This will create a long-term impetus for growth,” Thành said.
In 2017, inflation was at below 4 per cent, as set by the National Assembly. The same target was set for 2018. — VNS