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Trade Balance
July 26, 2007

Jan-July trade deficit jumps on year
Vietnam estimated on July 26 its trade deficit in the first seven months of the year more than doubled to US$5.45 billion from a year earlier, due largely to a surge in imports for construction of state projects, Reuters reported.

In July alone the deficit was estimated at US$800 million from a revised gap of US$790 million last month, the General Statistics Office said in its monthly report. In trade deficit for the first seven months of 2006 was US$2.44 billion.

Exports in the first seven months rose 19.6% from a year earlier to US$26.79 billion while imports during the period jumped nearly 30% to US$32.24 billion, the office said.

The trade report showed imports of machinery, mainly for big government projects including Vietnam's first refinery and new power plants, soared 42.2% in the January-July period from a year earlier to US$5.04 billion.

Oil product imports in the first seven months rose 11.9% from a year earlier to $4.06 billion, while crude exports fell 11.3% to US$4.4 billion, the report showed. The Trade Ministry forecast earlier this month the 2007 trade gap could jump to a record US$8 billion this year.

Apart from infrastructure projects, the ministry attributed the widening trade deficit to increases in imports of cars and household appliances due to lower import tariffs as Vietnam implemented its World Trade Organisation commitments.

Vietnam, which joined the global trade body in January, aims to boost annual economic growth to 9% in the second half of 2007 from 7.87% in the first half to achieve full-year growth of 8.5%.

Earlier this week, Deputy Trade Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien raised the 2007 export forecast to US$48.1 billion, up 20.8% from last year from a previous forecast of US$47.54 billion. Reuters

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