Agricultural sector sees trade surplus in Q1 but total exports decline

Saturday, Apr 06, 2019 08:41

Farmers in Ta Chai Commune of Lao Cai Province's Bac Ha Distrcit grow strawberries in a greenhouse. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh

Viet Nam's agriculture sector gained a trade surplus of US$1.5 billion from farming, forestry and seafood products in the first quarter of this year but there was a reduction in total export value.

Agro, forestry and seafood export value was estimated to have yielded $8.8 billion in the years first quarter, a year-on-year fall of 2.9 per cent, deputy minister of agriculture and rural development Ha Cong Tuan said yesterday at the ministry's first yearly meeting to review production.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam splashed out $7.3 billion on imports during the three months, increasing 4.6 per cent year-on-year.

Tuan said exports of seafood and forestry products rose 0.5 per cent and 18 per cent to $1.8 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively.

The forest industry achieved the strongest growth in the “billion dollar” goods basket which includes footwear, computer and spare parts, garment and textile, telephones and parts, steel, seafood and machinery.

The US, Japan, EU, China and the Republic of Korea remained the five largest export markets of Vietnamese forest products, accounting for some 87 per cent of the total export value.

In contrast, Tuan said major farm produce shipped overseas totaled $4.2 billion, down 13.4 per cent, of which some 1.43 million tonnes of rice were sold in foreign markets at a value of $593 million, dropping 3.5 per cent in volume and 20.2 per cent in value.

However, the rice sector is boosted by numerous orders for the second quarter, the future does look more positive.

Coffee shipments also experienced a downward trend as the exported volume decreased 14.2 per cent to 483,000 tonnes with earnings sliding 22.8 per cent to $841 million.

Germany and the US continued to be the largest markets, accounting for 22.8 per cent of the countrys total coffee exports.

The export price of pepper plummeted 27 per cent due to abundant supply, causing export revenues to dwindle 18 per cent year-on-year to $182 million despite an increase of 19 per cent in export volume.

The US, India, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates were the biggest export markets for Vietnamese pepper, together making up nearly 43 per cent of the total exports.

Cashew exports edged up 2.1 per cent in volume to 76,000 tonnes, but export value tapered off 19.2 per cent to $609 million.

Exports of cassava and cassava products in the first three months also dropped 21.7 per cent year-on-year in volume to 698,000 tonnes and 9.4 per cent in value to $260 million.

Fruit and vegetable export turnover experienced a year on year fall of 9.3 per cent to $879 million in the first quarter of the year.

The decline was largely attributed to the drop of 14.7 per cent in export of the products to China, a market which accounts for 74 per cent of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable shipments. — VNS

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