Vietnam recorded a trade deficit of US$1.3 billion in May, resulting in a total deficit of $548 million for the first five months of the year, according to General Statistics Office (GSO)s monthly report.
The domestic sector reported a trade deficit of $13.3 billion in the period, while foreign-invested firms posted a trade balance of $12.7 billion.
GSO statisticians blamed the return to a trade deficit on slowing growth of exports in May. In the first four months of the year, the country posted a surplus of $771 million.
They said the countrys import-export turnover reached more than $202 billion in the five-month period, a year-on-year rise of 7 per cent.
However, this growth rate was much lower than 19 per cent and 17.5 per cent seen in the same periods of 2018 and 2019, respectively, with key export items such as rice, coffee and cashew nuts posting turnover reductions of between 14 and 23 per cent.
Phones and parts recorded the highest export turnover of approximately $20 billion, accounting for 20 per cent of total exports, up 3 per cent year on year, followed by electronics, computers and components ($12 billion, up 11 per cent), garments ($12.1 billion, up 10 per cent) and footwear ($7.1 billion, up 14 per cent).
Other areas were equipment and parts with $7 billion, up 6 per cent year on year, wood and furniture ($4 billion, up 18 per cent) and vehicles and parts (US$3.6 billion, up 5 per cent).
The US remained Viet Nam's biggest export market in the period, spending nearly $23 billion on Vietnamese goods, a yearly hike of 28 per cent. The EU ranked second at $17 billion, up 2 per cent and China came third with $14 billion, down 3 per cent.
GSOs figures also showed that import turnover between January and May topped more than $100 billion, surging 10 per cent over the same period last year.
The domestic sector hit $44 billion, up 15 per cent, while the foreign-invested sector hit nearly $58 billion, up 7 per cent.
China retained its position as Vietnam's largest source of imports with turnover of $29.6 billion, with products recording significant growth including electronics, computers and components at 83 per cent; machinery, equipment and spare parts at 28 per cent and fabric at 13 per cent.
South Korea came next with $19.2 billion, up 1 per cent, and ASEAN countries ranked third with $14 billion, up 9 per cent. Japan, the US and the EU followed.
GSO statisticians noted that Vietnam saw an increase of 46 per cent in its trade deficit with China to total of $16 billion in the period.
South Korea hit $11 billion, down 4 per cent; and ASEAN was $3.3 billion, up 26 per cent. — VNS
Vietnam’s trade balance sustained an estimated deficit of up to US$1.3 billion during May, leading to the total trade deficit amounting to US$548 million for the year’s first five months.
Vietnam ran a trade deficit of US$11.9 billion with China in the first four months of the year, up a staggering 53.8% year-on-year.