'The focus will be on implementing monetary and fiscal policy that controls the rise in total payments, loans and credits with flexibility to ensure liquidity and reasonable economic expansion,' online newspaper VietnamNet (www.vnn.vn) quoted Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc as saying.

Phuc reiterated a government target to achieve economic growth of about 7 percent next year, in line with a target of 6.5 to 7 percent growth this year.

Consumer prices in the Southeast Asian country of 86.5 million people, jumped 27.9 percent last month from a year ago, the 11th straight month of double-digit price rises, mainly due to a spike in food and fuel prices.

Phuc also expressed concerns over the widening trade deficit, which he said would reach $19 billion this year, from $12.4 billion in 2007.

The Communist Party government is facing its biggest economic test since market liberalisation began in the mid-1990s.

It has cut growth targets to 6.5-7 percent from around 8 percent previously and raised interest rates three times this year to fight inflation

By Nguyen Nhat Lam - Reuters - October 10, 2008