The past year 2020 has been a volatile year for the world economy in general and for the ASEAN region in particular. Most of the countries were hit hard by the Covid epidemic. However, let’s take a look at the GDP growth rates of the six ASEAN countries:

– Philippines recession -9.5%, if the Peso does not increase sharply, the GDP scale will drop below 367 billion USD, per capita will decrease to 3,372 USD (source IMF).

– In 2020, the Thailand economy contracting 6.1%, the biggest fall since 1998, during the Asian financial crisis. That cause the government to cut its estimate for economic growth this year to 2.5-3.5% in 2021 (source Bangkok post).

-The economy declines by -5.6%, Malaysia cannot overcome the middle-income trap in 2020. In 2019, Malaysia’s GDP is 364 billion USD, per capita of more than 11,000 USD, setting one foot out of the income trap but unexpectedly stuck into the “epidemic trap”, falling in pain. Consequently, the economy will decline -5.6% in 2020. According to forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF): Malaysia’s GDP will decline to approximately 336 billion USD, GDP per capita will shrink at $ 10,192. Therefore, they cannot “break the trap” as expected.

-Singapore has just adjusted growth from -5.8% to -5.4%, and announced current price GDP at S $ 469 billion (source Singstat). At an average rate of $ 1 = S $ 1.34, Singapore’s nominal GDP size is estimated at $ 350 billion. Thus, Vietnam may not surpass Singapore in terms of nominal GDP in 2020.

– Indonesia decreased -2.07%, GDP decreased to about 1,053 billion USD, per capita shrinking at 3,911 USD (source of Statistics Indonesia BPS).

– In another case, just only Vietnam had a positive GDP growth rate in ASEAN 6 of + 2.91%, GDP increased to 343 billion USD, per capita is estimated at 3,521 USD, surpassed Malaysia in terms of economy’s size, surpassed Philippines in terms of GDP per capita (source of GSO Vietnam General Statistics Office).

It can be seen that, according to the above statistics, Vietnam still maintains its momentum with a positive GDP growth rate in 2020, regardless of the influence of the Covid-19 wave, this feat is recognized by the world, becoming a model for many countries.

Although the epidemic situation is still complicated, Vietnam’s economic prospects in the medium and long term are very positive, if the following factors are still maintained:

– To ensure control of epidemic diseases in parallel with efforts to recover and develop socio-economic in a new normal state.

– Participate in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, while benefiting from the current shift of supply chains to lower-cost countries.

– Investment in infrastructure and improved service sector growth will help Vietnam achieve growth outperformed other Asian economies.

Those are also the feasible bases for Vietnam to achieve the GDP growth target of 6% in 2021 that the Government has submitted to the National Assembly in the Resolution on the Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021.


Ms. Gracie – Juridical Executive of MRS Steel


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