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Vietnam's H1 FDI inflows down but target in reach   2009-06-23 - Reuters

Foreign investment flows into Vietnam fell 18 percent to $4 billion in the first half of 2009 from the same period last year but were on track to hit the full-year target, the government said on Tuesday.

The government said in a statement it expected $8 billion in FDI to be disbursed this year. Earlier this month a senior official was quoted as saying the target was $9 billion.

"This figure is considered appropriate with the recently adjusted GDP growth rate of 5 percent," the government said.

The Foreign Investment Agency has forecast new FDI pledges would total $20 billion this year, a drop of about 70 percent from a revised figure for total pledges last year of $66.4 billion. Earlier, the government had estimated pledges last year at $64 billion.

Annual pledges of FDI outstrip inflows because committed funds often take years to disburse.

In line with an expected recovery in the global economy by 2010, pledges for projects in Vietnam would rise to $22 billion, with $9 billion in actual inflows, it said.

The actual inflow in the period between January and June could well cover the country's trade deficit of $3 billion in the first half, following estimates by the Industry and Trade Ministry last week.

Foreign investment inflows, along with overseas remittances, are a key source of foreign exchange to help Vietnam offset its trade deficit.

So far this year remittances have hit $2.73 billion, ensuring Vietnam had an adequate supply of dollars, while the value for the whole of this year was forecast to drop 20 percent from last year to $5.6-5.7 billion, central bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau said on June 17.

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