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Vietnam GDP growth surges in second quarter

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Hanoi (AFP)

Vietnam's economy bounced back in the second quarter posting a 6.17 percent growth rate, according to official figures Thursday, a boost driven by gains in the industrial and services sectors.

The export-driven economy saw growth slow last year as the country struggled to recover from a major drought and mass fish kill along its central coast.

Growth in the first three months of this year hit a three-year low of 5.15 percent thanks to a slump in exports from Samsung, the country's leading investor.

But GDP growth rates from April to June jumped to 6.17 percent, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The surge was driven by growth in the industrial and services sectors, though the mining sector dragged growth slightly, the office said.

GSO general director Nguyen Bich Lam said the surge between quarter one and two was the biggest jump since 2011, according to state-controlled Vietnamnet news site.

Analysts were buoyed by the bounceback and predicted strong growth ahead -- even if the official growth target of 6.7 percent is not met.

"The latest numbers are very positive... I think Vietnam can manage about 6.5 percent growth this year," said Luong Hoang from Viet Capital Securities.

Communist Vietnam has enjoyed a reputation as one of the best performing economies in Southeast Asia in recent years, with growth hitting more than six percent over the past two years, though the 2016 figures were down from the previous year.

Overall growth for the first half of 2017 is at 5.73 percent, up from the same period last year as exports surged 18.9 percent compared to the first half of 2016.

Growth has been mostly driven by exports of cheaply made goods, from Nike shoes to smartphones.

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