Trade surplus forecast on export growth

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 11:30

Viet Nam expects to export over 6.2-million tonnes of rice this year with an estimated revenue of $1.83 billion. — Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub)  — Viet Nam is expected to achieve a trade surplus in the remaining months of 2014 following positive results from exports in the first eight months of the year.

If so, this will be the third consecutive year that the country has achieved a trade surplus. Viet Nam 's trade surplus was US$749 million in 2012, and this increased to $863 million in 2013.

Figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) showed that the country's trade surplus in the first eight months of the year reached $1.7 billion, or 1.8 per cent of total export value.

But the MoIT noted that most of the exports came from foreign-invested enterprises.

In the first eight months, Vietnamese enterprises reported a $10.16-billion trade deficit while foreign-invested enterprises reported nearly $11.86 billion in surplus.

Vietnamese exporters have to import a large volume of imported input materials. Although Viet Nam is an agricultural country, it has to import a large quantity of raw materials for agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Its dependence on imports has incurred for the country a trade deficit with China, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore.

To boost exports of high value-added products, the MoIT said it was co-ordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in adopting restructuring measures to increase the added value of Viet Nam's agri-forestry and fishery products.

The Government has also issued a decree to enable domestic enterprises to invest more in support industries so that components, equipment and machines produced at home could gradually replace those imported from abroad.

Producers of the country's key exports such as textiles and garments, mobile phone and electronics products, footwear and agricultural products have so far remained optimistic about their prospects in the last months of the year.

After surpassing mobile phone and electronics products as the country's top export earners, textiles and garments are expected to continue its leap into the last quarter of the year, when demand is expected to rise sharply ahead of holidays such as Christmas and New Year.

A good number of garment export producers say they have cornered enough orders for the whole year. The country's textile and garments industry targeted $23 billion in revenues from exports this year. In the first eight months of the year, its revenues reached $13.65 billion, a 19.7 per cent year-on-year increase. Export value to major markets rose significantly by 36 per cent in South Korea, 26 per cent in the European Union, 15 per cent in the United States and 14 per cent in Japan.

Industry insiders say garments exporters are also benefiting from a decrease in the world price of imported input materials such as cotton. In the US market, cotton prices declined by 24 per cent and the same trend is being seen in the Indian and Chinese markets.

Producers of agricultural exports are likewise optimistic. Tran Anh Tuan, MoIT deputy minister, said rice exports this year would meet Government targets.

According to the Viet Nam Food Association, rice exports this year will surpass the 6.2-million tonne export target and earn $1.83 billion.

With 4.2 million tonnes of rice exported in the first eight months of the year and a forecast of 1.9 million tonnes for the third quarter and 1.4 million tonnes for the fourth quarter, the country's rice exports for 2014 will likely reach 6.3 million tonnes, excluding unofficial exports in small quantities through the borders, the association said.

Rice demand in import markets from now till year-end are also trending upwards, the association added. It cited the Philippines and Indonesia, which will each import about 500,000 tonnes of rice from October to December and are expected to import more.

The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers also predict the industry's export revenue this year to increase by 13 per cent more than that of last year to $7 billion. Shrimp is expected to be the industry's biggest earner at $3 billion. — VNS

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