A worker covers sacks of rice imported from Vietnam. Photo: Reuters, Darren Whiteside

Vietnam released economic statistics for the first quarter of 2017 on Wednesday, showing slower than expected growth of 5.1%, reports Vietnam Bridge.

Following GDP growth of 6.68% in the fourth quarter of 2016, the median estimate for Q1 this year was an increase of 6.25%.

Vietnamese media reported the 12.8% year on year export growth beat expectations, though Bloomberg highlights that exports of phones and parts took a big hit when Samsung abruptly ended production of Note 7 devices.

Though Vietnam is vulnerable to potential US protectionism, the World Bank forecasts Vietnam’s economy to expand by more than 6% through 2018. Senior Asia economist at Capital Economics Gareth Leather notes that a recovery in agricultural output along with a strong export sector are both factors to support growth through 2017.