Vietnam 2010 trade gap shrinks to $12.37 bln: report

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Vietnam's trade deficit this year is expected to narrow to US$12.37 billion following an annual jump in exports of 25.5 percent to $71.63 billion, a state-run newspaper reported on Saturday.

Imports this year would rise 20.1 percent to $80 billion, the Nhan Dan daily cited the Industry and Trade Ministry s saying in a report.

It revised up the trade deficit last year to $12.87 billion, from $12.3 billion earlier estimated by the government's statistics office.

The annual trade deficit estimate is close to the result of a Reuters poll of 12 economists in October and also in line with a central bank forecast in November of about $12 billion, which it said could leave the balance of payments deficit at $2 billion.

Apart from rising world prices of commodities, a larger export volume of rice, rubber, cashew nuts, textiles and footwear had contributed to higher export revenues, the newspaper said.

Vietnam's rice exports as of Dec. 17 reached 6.49 million tons, up 11 percent from the same period last year and above an annual record high of 6.05 million tons in 2009, the Vietnam Food Association said.

Vietnam's export revenues this month were estimated at $7.1 billion, and imports at $8.5 billion, leaving a monthly trade deficit at $1.4 billion, the Nhan Dan daily quoted the Trade Ministry as saying, without giving further details.

The statistics office is expected to release full trade data for the whole of 2010 next week.

Next year, the annual trade deficit is projected to widen to $14 billion.

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