Vietnam's merchants feel the pinch of a slower economy

09/19/2013 | Bloomberg

The days leading up to this month's Mid-Autumn Festival are typically busy for Vietnam mooncake sellers like Nguyen Thi Hanh, but sales are way down for the Hanoi street merchant as cash-strapped consumers tighten their belts. High debt levels, inflation and rising unemployment have led to the country's slowest retail sales growth since 2004. "If people aren’t spending, businesses aren't moving their merchandise, their revenues are falling and they are falling behind on paying back their debt," said VinaCapital Group chief economist Alan Pham.

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