Vietnam sees worrying shift from trade surplus to deficit this year

Thanh Nien News

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 Chinese fruits at a Vietnamese market. Photo: Chi Nhan
With exports growing much slower than imports, Vietnam's trade deficit hit US$4.03 billion in the first nine months, a sharp contrast from a $2.27 billion surplus it recorded the same period last year. 
In its latest report, Vietnam Customs said exports were nearly $120.22 billion in the January-September period, up 9.2 percent, while imports rose 15.6 percent to $124.25 billion.
Foreign-invested businesses continued to make up a majority of Vietnam's trade value, around 63.5 percent, the customs said.
It said that the foreign sector saw a 20.8 percent surge in both exports and imports.
Local businesses, on the other hand, reported a drop of 9.5 percent in exports, and a 8.8 percent increase in imports.
China continued to be the biggest source of goods for Vietnam, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total imports. 
The US was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese goods, holding a 20 percent share in the total exports. Shipments to the US hit $24.76 billion, up 19 percent from the same period last year. 
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said the annual trade deficit can be between $5.5 billion and $6 billion. 

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