Although the trade deficit still remains tense, the latest moves show that there are more positive performances.

An optimistic sign is that imports have fallen, especially in the second half of April. But, there are still worries when the trade gap remained high and exceeded 20 percent of the National Assembly (NA)'s target.

April's trade deficit fell against the initial prediction of general Statistic Office (GSO) (by $1.25 billion) because both export and import decreased in turnover.

In the last haft of April, export turnover reached over $2.7 billion meanwhile import tended to fall slightly at nearly $3.01 billion, or 46 percent of the month's import spending.

Totally in April, export turnover reached over $5.33 billion, down 4.6 percent from the previous month and import spending was nearly $6.5 billion, falling 3.7 percent month on month.

Hence, trade gap in April was about $1.16 billion, equalling to March's figure and lower than $1.33 billion in February.

Total export turnover in Jan-April reached over $19.7 billion, rising 6.6 percent against the same period last year while import spending was nearly $24.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 33.2 percent. So, trade gap in April was $4.7 billion.

The gap between export growth and import has been shortened to five times from 25 times of Q1. However, the trade deficit accounted for 23.8 percent of total export turnover in first four months this year and exceeded NA's approved target.

FDI enterprises continued to maintain strong growths in both exports and imports. Although crude oil export dropped up to 48.7 percent in volume and 11.6 percent in value, FDI enterprises' export turnover reached nearly $9.26 billion in Jan-Apr, up 36.2 percent y-o-y and accounted for 46.9 percent of the country's export turnover.

Similarly, the import spending of these firms was over $10 billion, rising 36.4 percent y-o-y and accounted for 41 percent of the country's total import spending.

Export turnover decreased strongly in both quantity and value in many items, especially agricultural products such as coffee, rice, cassava and materials like coal, crude oil, petroleum and plastic but increased sharply in value in other commodities such as rubber, iron and steel, electrical wires and cables and transport means.

Whereas, import spending fell in items of petroleum, gas, fertiliser and CBU motors but increased in commodities of metal, spare parts for auto manufacturing, animal food, cotton, wheat and rubber.

Five items exceeded export turnover of $1 billion included seafood products, rice, crude oil, apparel products and footwear whereas six items exceeded the import spending of $1 billion including petroleum, plastic, clothes, iron and steel, computers, electronic components and machines.

As for Vietnam's big trade partners (with the export turnover or import spending of over $1 billion), we reached trade surplus of over $2.8 billion with the US market in first four months this year.

However, the country's trade deficit was up to $3.66 billion from China, $1.83 billion from Korea, $1.7 billion from Taiwan, $1.2 billion from Thailand, $561 million from Singapore and $342 million from Japan.

Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam - May 12, 2010