Seven-month trade surplus triples

By Anh Minh   August 3, 2020 | 06:26 pm PT
Seven-month trade surplus triples
Shipping containers are seen at a port in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam reported a $6.46 billion trade surplus in the first seven months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 328 percent.

In July alone, trade surplus reached $1 billion, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said in a report.

Despite the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s trade surplus still increased sharply this year because the country imported less. Vietnam recorded an export value of $145.79 billion in the first seven months of this year, up 0.2 percent year-on-year, while import value reduced by nearly 3 percent to $139.33 billion.

The foreign-invested sector (including crude oil) contributed greatly to this result with an export surplus of $17.6 billion over the period, which was partially reduced by a trade deficit of over $11 billion from the domestic sector.

In the first seven months, exports of some key product groups such as computers and machinery, which account for nearly 24 percent of export turnover, grew by double digits. Meanwhile, shipments of all other product groups fell, the ministry said.

In this period, the U.S. remained Vietnam’s largest export destination, accounting for approximately $38 billion, followed by China with $23.5 billion, the E.U. with $19.5 billion and ASEAN with $12.8 billion.

The seven-month import of many raw materials for domestic production dropped sharply, with fabric falling 15 percent; steel, 14 percent; and other raw materials for textiles, garments and footwear nearly 16 percent, the report said.

China is still Vietnam’s biggest supplier with a turnover of nearly $42 billion, followed by South Korea with $24.3 billion, and ASEAN with $17 billion.

According to the trade ministry, the export sector is likely to face many difficulties in the remaining five months of the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), effective from August 1, may help soften this blow by allowing Vietnamese enterprises better access to a $18-trillion GDP market.

Vietnam achieved a trade surplus for the fourth year in a row last year. The trade surplus at the end of 2019 was a record $9.9 billion.

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