Vietnam\'s economic growth is forecast to slow to an annual 4.3 per cent in the first half of this year, as companies struggle to acquire credit, dpa cited the government as saying Friday. Higher interest rates reduced the number of loans and investments, putting the brakes on economic expansion, which was 5.6 per cent year-on-year in the first half of last year, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the National Assembly. The slowdown in gross domestic product growth was also caused by government efforts to trim public investment and its budget deficit. Tightening credit has caused nearly 22,000 enterprises to go bankrupt or halt production, up 9.5 per cent compared with the same period last year, he said. The country has been able to curb inflation, estimating that the retail price index rose just 3 per cent from December to June, the lowest six-month rate in three years, and down from more than 23 per cent year-on-year in August. Vietnam has it aims to keep its inflation below 9 per cent while maintaining growth of 6 per cent this year.