Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country sitting at the easternmost point of the Indochinese Peninsula. This densely-populated developing country has a population of about 95.5 million in 2018. Vietnam is home to a high level of biodiversity with a culture based on the ancient Dong Son and a fusion of Chinese traditions.
Vietnam’s economy primarily relies on agriculture, with the growing of wet rice as its primary aspect. Because of its successful political and economic reforms, the country has become powerful in Southeast Asia and even one of the fastest-growing economies across the globe. Although its economy is dominated by SOEs or state-owned enterprises, the government is committed to economic liberation and opening the country to the global market. In 2010, the country’s agricultural share of economic output has declined to roughly 20% from 25% in 2000.
Vietnam’s export-oriented economy was deeply impacted by the global recession. Although exports have increased by over 25% year after year, the nation’s trade deficit remained high. In 2011, international donors pledged about $8 billion for Vietnam’s new development assistance but with the nation’s powerful economic policies, Vietnam struggled to manage the highest inflation rate that ever hit the region. Additionally, the nation is challenged by the downturn of foreign exchange reserves, and because of the subsequent default of the leading shipbuilder SOE Vinashin, Vietnam’s sovereign debt rating was downgraded.
The Vietnamese Dong has been the country’s official currency since it was introduced by the State Bank of Vietnam on May 3, 1978. The latest version of the Vietnamese Dong banknotes is printed on polymer and bears a portrait of former president Ho Chi Minh on the obverse and vignettes of Vietnamese culture on the reverse.
Because of trade disparity, the Dong has been falling and from 2008, it has been devalued by 20% through successive small devaluations.