By Hung Le  July 19, 2019 | 10:01 am GMT+7 A Vietnamese employee in the painting shop at an automotive plant in the northern province of Hai Duong. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam. The Asian Development Bank maintains its Vietnam GDP growth forecast at 6.8 percent this year, and 6.7 percent in 2020, the highest in Southeast Asia. According to the ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2019 issued Tuesday, Vietnam’s growth in 2019 is being underpinned by sustained domestic demand, which saw growth of 7.3 percent in 2017 and 7.2 percent in 2018.The outlook for private consumption remains robust as households enjoy rising incomes and stable inflation, the report adds. Private investment is also likely to rise as Vietnam continues to improve its business environment and forges stronger ties with international partners through various trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) ratified last year, and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) signed on May 30 this year, says the report. An external risk to the outlook would be a sharper slowdown in the major economies of the European Union, the US, Japan, and China, Vietnam’s key trade partners. According to ADB, growth in the first half of 2019 is estimated at 6.8 percent year-on-year despite agriculture being hobbled by a prolonged drought and African swine fever. ADB maintains growth forecast for developing Asia at 5.7 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2020, unchanged from April.