Vietnam's economy seems to have it all – good demographics, rising incomes and growing consumption – but that's not good enough to translate into stock market gains.
"Undeniably, Vietnam boasts a strong demographic destiny. This has helped with the country's labor cost competitiveness and domestic demand. Sustained growth of disbursed FDI (foreign direct investment) signifies the country's attractiveness as a manufacturing hub," Trinh D. Nguyen, an economist at HSBC, said in a note this week.
But what's good for Vietnam's foreign investors doesn't appear to be helping the domestic ones much, she said.
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"Domestic enterprises have not been as successful in capitalizing on Vietnam's cheap labor pool," Nguyen said, noting their exports contracted in both the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this one, even as foreign-invested firms saw their trade surplus rise.
It's quite a labor pool too, with more than 60 percent of the population clustered in the prime 15-54 working-age range and around 6 percent of the population over the age of 65, with the median age at around 29. That compares with Japan's median age around 46 and China's around 37.