* Q1 growth was 5.1 pct y/y, lowest for a quarter since Q1
* Trends could make 2017's 6.7 pct target unreachable -
* Electronics production impacted by Samsung's Note 7 woes
(Add details, quotes)
By Mai Nguyen
HANOI, March 29 Vietnam's economy grew at its
slowest pace in three years in the first quarter, government
data showed on Wednesday, as production was weak in agriculture,
mining and manufacturing.
The General Statistics Office (GSO) said annual growth in
January-March was 5.1 percent. That was the slowest expansion
for any quarter since the first three months of 2014.
Nguyen Bich Lam, head of GSO, said that if current trends
are maintained, Vietnam is "unlikely to reach" its 2017 growth
target of 6.7 percent.
Vietnam has been among Asia's fastest growing economies,
though in 2016, the economy slowed for the first time in four
years, to 6.21 percent from the previous year's 6.68 percent
The extension into 2017 of last year's drought and
salination problems hurt agricultural output of Vietnam, a major
exporter of rice and coffee.
In the first quarter, mining sector production dropped 10
percent from the same period last year, the GSO said, amid the
government's effort to steer away from natural resources,
especially in coal, crude oil and gas.
Annual growth of manufacturing in the first quarter slipped
to 8.3 percent from 8.9 percent one year earlier, due to falls
in food processing and electronics, said Ha Quang Tuyen, head of
the GSO's National Accounts Department.
Tuyen said electronics production fell 1 percent in the
first quarter from a year, partly due to problems South Korea's
Samsung Electronics's experienced with its Note 7
Samsung, Vietnam's biggest foreign investor, has invested
billions of dollars in the Southeast Asian nation.
Lam of GSO said challenges facing Vietnam include low labour
productivity, a continuing impact from drought and salination,
inflation, and how the current economic structure is not
facilitating stable growth.
(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Richard Borsuk)