Vietnam Trade surplus hits record high

03:55' PM - Thursday, 27/12/2018

Vietnam’s trade surplus in the January-November period reached an all-time high of US$7.4 billion, 3.5 times higher than the full-year figure of US$2.1 billion for 2017, backed by the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector, Thanh Nien newspaper reported, citing statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Customs data show that the country’s total export revenue amounted to US$223.7 billion, while imports hit a value of US$216.3 billion.

Of these, FDI enterprises gained a staggering US$158 billion in export revenue and spent US$130 billion on imports, rising by 14.1% and 12.2%, respectively, from a year earlier. Thus, the sector enjoyed a significant trade surplus of US$28 billion in the period.

Meanwhile, domestic firms ran a trade deficit of US$21 billion in the 11-month period.

Phones and phone parts took the lead in export revenue, earning US$46 billion in the January-November period, up 12% year-on-year, followed by textiles and garments; computers, electronic products and accessories; machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts; and footwear.

The agro-forestry-fishery sector alone posted a large trade surplus of US$7.5 billion, with the value of exports and imports registered at US$36.3 billion and US$28.8 billion, respectively.

In terms of markets, Vietnam gained huge trade values with the United States, China, Japan and South Korea. The United States remained Vietnam’s largest importer with a value of US$43.4 billion, followed by China with US$37.7 billion, Japan with US$17.3 billion and South Korea with US$16.7 billion.

According to Nguyen Minh Phong at the Hanoi Institute for Socio-Economic Development Studies, even though the high trade surplus is mainly attributable to the FDI sector, it is a remarkable achievement.

Pham Chi Lan, an economic expert, expressed concern over the country’s dependence on the FDI sector, which accounted for up to 72% of the country’s total trade revenue.

However, domestic firms have taken advantage of opportunities to improve their performance. Specifically, wood processors are not reliant on materials imported from China and have utilized opportunities ushered in by the Sino-American trade war to boost shipments stateside. - SGT -

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