Vietnam's gross domestic product in the first quarter grew 5.66% from a year earlier as exports boomed, government data released on Friday showed, despite higher shipping costs due to turmoil in the Red Sea.

Growth in the January-March quarter for economy was faster than the expansion of 3.41% in the same period last year, but slower than the 6.72% growth in the fourth quarter. First quarter numbers are generally lower because of festival holidays.

The Southeast Asian nation, a regional manufacturing hub and a key exporter of smartphones, electronics and garments, is seeking to shore up its business activities after it missed its growth target last year on weak global demand and brief power shortages. It has set a 6.0%-6.5% GDP growth target this year.

The manufacturing and construction sector grew 6.28%, while the services sector expanded 6.12% in the quarter from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in a report.

Goods exports from Vietnam grew sharply in the quarter, despite disruptions to shipping through the Red Sea caused by the Houthis' attacks, which, according to official estimates, resulted in a 55%-73% increase in costs for cargoes from the country.

Goods exports in the quarter grew 17% from a year earlier to $93.06 billion, while imports were up 13.9% to $84.98 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $8.08 billion.

Shipments of electronics rose 30% from a year earlier, while smartphone exports increased 10% and garments 7.9%, according to the GSO.

Industrial production in the quarter rose 21.7% from a year earlier, the GSO said, adding that consumer prices in March rose 3.97% from a year earlier and retail sales in the January-March period rose 8.2%. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh last week reassured foreign investors that their factories will not face a repeat of last year's power shortages, as the country is ramping up coal imports.

Vietnam's electricity output in the first quarter grew 11.4% from a year earlier to 65.5 billion kWh, according to the GSO.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty and Muralikumar Anantharaman)