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Vietnam: Exports to climb 30% in 2008


October 13, 2008

Vietnam: Exports to climb 30% in 2008
Vietnam's 2008 export growth will accelerate to 30 percent from 22 percent last year, with total exports expected to hit a value of $63 billion, Reuters reported, quoting government forecasts carried by a state-run newspaper.

But Industry and Trade Ministry forecasts also said exports in the last three months of this year would slow to $15.7 billion from $17.95 billion in the third quarter ending September due to lower prices of key export items, the Tin Tuc (News) daily said on Monday.

The government forecast crude oil, Vietnam's largest export, to hover at $80 to $95 per barrel CLc1 during the last months of this year "because oil demand on international markets has declined due to the impact of the global financial crisis".

Vietnam is the third-largest crude oil producer in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Malaysia.

Textiles, its number two cash earner, would be affected by the crisis as 55 percent of Vietnamese products are sold to the United States, while its third big export item, shoes, has been facing anti-dumping duty in the European Union.

The ministry forecast rice demand to pick up in the last quarter of this year but prices would not rise due to ample supplies. Vietnam was the world's third-largest rice exporter last year after Thailand and India.

"In future, rice prices could not fall below $500 to $600 a tonne due to high production cost while the rice planting area cannot be expanded significantly," the newspaper said.

The ministry forecast Vietnam's annual exports to reach between $62 billion and $63 billion this year, above the government's growth target of 20-22 percent, after exports in the third quarter rose 46.5 percent from the same period last year.

The newspaper, run by the official Vietnam News Agency, did not give any import forecasts but according to previous forecasts imports could rise 31.8 percent to $80 billion this year.

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