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January 3, 2009

Vietnam’s trade deficit seen at $19.2 bn in 2009
Vietnam has revised down its trade deficit forecast for 2009 by 3.5 percent, to $19.2 billion, reflecting expectations that the pace of both exports and imports will slow significantly, reported Reuters.

"The context of 2009 is full of difficulties, so a high speed of growth in trade is not easy to achieve because of the sharp fall in prices of key export items such as crude oil, rubber, coffee," Trade and Industry Minister Vu Huy Hoang said in a government trade report seen on Friday.

Hoang forecast exports would rise 13 percent this year to $71.08 billion. Imports would also rise 13 percent to $90.3 billion, leaving a trade gap of $19.2 billion, or $700 million less than a ministry projection in November.

Vietnam said last week its 2008 trade deficit stood at $17.5 billion as 2008 imports jumped 28.3 percent from 2007 to $80.42 billion and exports, supported by high commodities prices earlier during the year, rose 29.5 percent to $62.91 billion.

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