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Rising imports to widen Vietnam’s trade deficit

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September 24, 2008

Rising imports to widen Vietnam’s trade deficit
Vietnam estimated its trade deficit would nearly double to $15.8 billion in the first nine months of this year from a year ago, Reuters quoted a state-run newspaper as saying Tuesday.

January to September imports would rise 48.3 percent from the same period last year to $64.4 billion while exports would jump 39 percent to $48.58 billion, said the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper, which is run by the Planning and Investment Ministry.

The country had a trade deficit of $8.5 billion in the first nine months of 2007, while exports this month alone would reach $5.3 billion and imports would be $6.28 billion, bringing the monthly deficit to $980 million, it said.

Import growth in the first nine months is lower than an annual import rise of 54.1 percent in the first eight months, the newspaper said, citing Industry and Trade Ministry data.

Last week, the Asian Development Bank said Vietnam's import growth this year would "decelerate on slowing investment and consumption and falling inventories".

Meanwhile, "the anticipated weakening of external demand and a further decline in crude oil production will moderate export growth," the ADB said in its Outlook 2008 Update.

Vietnam's trade gap and inflation raced to multi-year highs this year on the back of higher energy and food prices, forcing the government to cut its 2008 growth target to 7 percent from 8.5-9 percent.

The government has forecast the annual trade deficit to widen to $19.5 billion this year from $12.4 billion in 2007.

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