Vietnam's economic growth accelerated in the second quarter as domestic demand grew.
Gross domestic product climbed 5.67 percent from a year earlier, according to a preliminary estimate released by the General Statistics Office in Hanoi Wednesday.
That compares with a previously reported 5.43 percent for the first three months. The economy grew 5.57 percent in the six months through June, from a revised 6.18 percent in the first half of 2010.
The second-quarter pace of expansion indicates that "policymakers must step up their efforts and scale growth back further in order to ensure price stability," said Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based economist at the UK's Capital Economics. "While there has been some progress in slowing growth, more needs to be done."
"It's remarkable how rapid growth still is, considering the monetary policy tightening," Jonathan Pincus, a Ho Chi Minh City-based economist at the Harvard Kennedy School's Vietnam program, said before Wednesday's report. "Investment has probably slowed but the difference is being made up in private consumption."
The government has scaled back its growth forecast for 2011 to 6 percent from an original prediction of 7 to 7.5 percent. That would compare with 6.8 percent last year.
"In contrast to the emphasis on growth in the past few years, the authorities' priority is now shifting to restoring macroeconomic stability," the International Monetary Fund said on June 23, citing an increase in the Vietnamese central bank's refinancing rate to the current 14 percent from 9 percent at the beginning of the year.
In spite of the higher borrowing costs, Vietnam's "resilient" growth rate may accelerate further through the year, said Pincus of the Harvard Kennedy School.
"You have this regular recurring pattern in Vietnam of growth accelerating throughout the year," he said. "You have a two-week period around Tet in the first quarter where nothing happens, and the public investment cycle tends to pick up toward the end of the year."