Based on preliminary customs data, Vietnam's shoe exports rose by only 8 percent in 2015, or two percentage points less than previously expected by the government and by the country's shoe industry association, Lefaso. Shoe exports reached a level of about $12.3 billion, below the target of $17 billion. Small and medium-sized manufacturers have seen order volumes shrink. The slowdown in export growth is being blamed on rising competition from alternative sources in Asia such as Bangladesh or Myanmar, where labor costs are lower. The monthly minimum wage in Vietnam was set to increase by 7.3 percent at the beginning of this month to the equivalent of between $116 and $166, depending on various factors. It is the smallest increase in a long time, due in part to an inflation rate of only 2 percent. The minimum wage has more than tripled in the country since 2008, raising its competitiveness against China.