Purchasing power up as Tet festival nears

Vietnam's total retail sales of goods and services in November increased by 3% month-on-month and 12.2% year-on-year to US$12.62 billion.

Vu Manh Ha, domestic trade economist of the General Statistics Office (GSO), also revealed that rising shopping demand during months near the year-end and approaching the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday led to the increase in people's purchasing power. 

In addition, the consumer price index (CPI) decline in November meant cheaper prices for several essential products and supermarkets' intensified retail promotional programmes that encouraged consumption. 

The 0.27-percent CPI decline month-on-month was largely attributed to falling transport costs following petrol price cuts. 

In the first 11 months of 2014, total retail sales of goods and services reached US$127.17 billion, an 11.1% year-on-year increase, or 6.5% if inflation is excluded. 

However, the increase in purchasing power for the 11-month period is still below expectations, as the increasing rate is only equivalent to half the rate of 2010. 

Ha explained that supply exceeded demand while incomes had not improved much, and businesses were still facing numerous difficulties. 

The Government's US$1.4-billion support package for the property market, a huge consumption market, had not been as effective as expected. Tourism sales in November likewise posted a 3% decrease.