Production improves, trade unbalanced: MoIT

Production and business results improved in the first two months of this year, but trade was unbalanced with strong growth in auto and mobile phone imports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported.

Despite strong growth in exports, the country's trade was still unbalanced with surge in auto and mobile phone imports. (Photo: doanhnghiepvn.vn)

The ministry said in the first two months, export value grew 15.4 percent to US$27.3 billion, including $7.6 billion from wholly State-owned enterprises, up 12.2 percent, and $19.7 billion from foreign invested firms, up by 16.8 percent against the same period last year.

Notably, the processing industry achieved a year-on-year surge of 15.5 percent in export value to $22 billion, accounting for 80.6 percent of the total national export value. Meanwhile, farming, forestry and fishery export value reached $3.2 billion, 9.9 percent higher than the same period last year, accounting for 11.4 percent of the total value.

The high export value growth in the first two months of 2017 is particularly significant given the relatively low 2.0 percent growth during the same period last year and failure to reach a two-digit value growth rate in 2016, the ministry said.

Moreover, average export prices increased sharply during the first two months, including cashew (20.3 percent), coffee (31.9 percent), crude oil (61.9 percent), rubber (81 percent) and coal (115.5 percent). However, the export prices of farming, forestry and fishery products dropped.

The increase in export prices contributed to a surge of $736 million in total export value during the two months against the same period last year, the ministry’s representative said. Export value of textiles and garments in the first two months also rose by 12.2 percent to $3.66 billion year-on-year.

Le Tien Truong, general director of Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said many Vinatex businesses had obtained stable long-term orders for the second quarter and beyond.

Total export value of textile and garments this year was expected to increase by 6.5-7 percent to $30 billion, Truong said, with US and Japan its major markets.

Auto and telephone imports

The ministry said the imports of some products experienced strong growth during the first two months of this year.

The import growth of products such as under-nine-seater vehicles, mobile phones, vegetables and fruits, could impact the general trade balance.

In the first two months, Vietnam spent $153 million to import 9,500 complete-built-units of under-nine-seater vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 139.6 percent, while import value surged by 129 percent for mobile phones and 129.8 percent for vegetables and fruits.

These imports partly contributed to a 20 percent increase in total import value to $27.4 billion in the two months, the ministry said.

The nation had a trade deficit of $46 million in the first two months, it said, $3.5 billion for local enterprises and $3.4 billion for foreign companies.

Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh praised the high export growth, but urged enterprises to focus on sustainable export development, vietnamplus.vn reported.

He said enterprises should focus on diversifying export products and markets to avoid dependence on products which have the advantage of cheap workers and on markets which have the benefit of free trade deals.

“We must re-organise production to ensure competitive ability, especially competitive ability based on factors adding value, such as technology and labour productivity,” Tuan Anh said.

To limit the trade deficit and control imports, the ministry said the State should have solutions to control the fast-growing import of such products as mobile phones, scrap steel, under-nine-seater automobiles and precious metals, as well as vegetables and fruits.

Source: VNS

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