Vietnam's legislature on Thursday approved government targets for next year of gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6% to 6.5% and inflation in a range of 4% to 4.5%, while anticipating continued challenges ahead from weak global demand.

The government targets had not been previously announced and come after the prime minister last week said the 2023 target of 6.5% expansion would not be achieved and would be around 5%, as businesses were struggling from soft external demand.

Vu Hong Thanh, head of the national assembly's economic committee, said the slightly lower target for GDP growth was because the global situation in 2024 was forecast to remain complicated and unpredictable.

That might affect the recovery of Vietnam's manufacturing industry and mean fewer orders, Thanh told the assembly.

Vietnam is a regional manufacturing heavyweight, with exports of smartphones, garments and footwear made for big global brands a key part of its economy and an important source of jobs.

The Asian Development Bank earlier this month forecast Vietnam's GDP growth at 6% next year, down from 6.8% in its initial forecast.

The parliament in a statement also said that in the following year, monetary and fiscal policies should be operated in a flexible manner, aiming at further reducing interest rates and focusing credit on prioritised sectors. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)