Vietnam's actual trade deficit in August was $396 million, the customs office said on Tuesday, roughly half the $800 million estimated by the government's General Statistics Office late last month.
Exports rose 31.5 percent from the same month last year to $9.25 billion while imports increased 17.3 percent to $9.64 billion, Vietnam Customs said on its website.
The deficit comes after a rare $1.1 billion surplus in July due to a surge in gold exports.
Exports of gemstones and precious metals, which is dominated by gold, during August totaled $165 million, or 85.2 percent less than in July, customs said.
The government has struggled to narrow the trade deficit, which has been a chronic source of pressure on the dong.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment said earlier this month it expected the trade deficit for the whole year to be $12 billion. The government, meanwhile, projected a deficit of potentially $14.5 billion.
Vietnam's trade deficit last year was $12.6 billion.