As Vietnam’s market plunges, optimism turns to anxiety

HANOI, Vietnam: How quickly Asia’s newest “Tiger Economy” has stopped roaring.

A year ago, Vietnam’s stock market was one of the hottest on earth, the real estate market was soaring and economic growth blazing at 8.5 percent. Exports were booming and foreign investment was flooding in, helped by the country’s admission to the World Trade Organization.

Millions across the communist country celebrated the marvels of capitalism.

Today, inflation has hit 25 percent, pinching incomes, and workers have been striking for higher wages. Property prices are falling and the stock market has plummeted to a two-year low, dashing the hopes of many people who expected to strike it rich.

Like thousands of other first-time investors in China and India, where shares also have plunged, Vietnamese are getting brutal lessons in the down sides of capital markets.

“My son and my husband are so angry at me,” said Doan Kim, a retired nurse who lost 70 percent of her US$ 20,000 nest egg in the stock market. “My life is not the same.”

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