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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        26  May 2011

Vietnamese trade deficit continues to rise

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The trade deficit increased to US$6.6 billion in the first five months this year compared to $5.4 billion in the same period of last year due to higher import value, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The deficit occurred due to increased growth rates of $1 billion in January, $1.1 billion in February, $1.15 billion in March, $1.4 billion in April and $1.7 billion in May.

The May deficit saw a year-on-year increase of 17.3 percent, said Le Thi Minh Thuy, head of the GSO's Trade Department.

"The deficit can be reduced with the decrease of imported goods and materials in favour of domestically produced equipment and materials and the support of local industry development," Thuy said.

During May, export value rose to $7.5 billion from $7.437 billion in April while the import value surged to $9.2 billion from $8.93 billion in April, she added.

Total export value during the first five months of this year saw a year-on-year increase of 32.8 percent to $34.75 billion, three times higher than the yearly target of 10 per cent.

"The huge surge in export value during the first five months was mainly due to a sharp increase in world market prices, especially in terms of farm products, seafood, textiles and footwear, Vietnamese key exports," Thuy said.

Export value climbed by 113 per cent to $1.52 billion for rubber; 121.7 percent to $1.77 billion for coffee; 109.4 per cent to $580 million for cassava and products made from cassava; 37 per- cent to $2.98 billion for crude oil; 35.6 percent to $5.1 billion for textiles and 31.8 percent to $2.37 billion for footwear.

The State-owned sector saw a year-on-year growth of 31.1 per cent in terms of total export value during the first five months to $15 billion while the foreign investment sector saw a year-on-year growth in export value of 34.2 percent to $19.01 billion.

High world market prices, while advantageous to export value, disadvantaged import activities because high prices pushed the total trade deficit up, Thuy said.

Total import value during the first five months increased 29.7 per cent to $41.33 billion compared with the same period last year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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