Imports outstrip exports by some margin, helped by the tumbling crude oil price.
Total trade stood at over $216.76 billion in the first eight months of the year, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has announced, an increase of 12.9 per cent against the same period last year. Exports were $106.5 billion, an increase of 9.2 per cent, and imports $110.26 billion, an increase of 16.8 per cent. Vietnam therefore recorded a trade deficit of $3.76 billion in the first eight months, after recording a surplus in 2014.
In August crude oil exports were 823,000 tons, an increase of 2.8 per cent against July. Crude prices, though, fell $57 per ton in the month, putting revenue at $295 million, or 11.3 per cent lower than in July.
In the first eight months crude exports totaled 6.3 million tons, an increase of 0.6 per cent year-on-year, earning $2.74 billion, a substantial 48.6 per cent ($2.6 billion) decline. Most exports went to Singapore, with 1.14 million tons and almost three times higher than in the same period last year, while Japan received 1.09 million tons, a 28.3 per cent decline, China 1.05 million tons, down 6.4 per cent, and Malaysia 1.04 million tons, an increase of 49.1 per cent year-on-year.
Coal exports took a tumble in the first eight months, standing at 1.3 million tons, a 75.6 per cent decline against the same period last year, with a value of $136 million, 64.9 per cent lower year-on-year.
Rice exports also experienced a decline in the period, with 4 million tons exported, or 9.7 per cent lower year-on-year, for revenue of $1.74 billion, a fall of 14.3 per cent.
Coffee exports were 879,000 tons worth $1.81 billion in the first eight months, a 32.3 per cent fall in quantity and a 32.6 per cent fall in value.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector continued to contribute significantly to Vietnam’s trade, to the tune of $137.25 billion, an increase of 21.9 per cent against the same period last year. Exports were $72.35 billion, an increase of 21.2 per cent, and imports $64.9 billion, an increase of 22.6 per cent.
Trade by domestic enterprises totaled $79.51 billion in the first eight months, with export turnover at $34.14 billion, a decline of 9.7 per cent.