Vietnam's balance of trade hit a 176 million USD surplus in August, marking the third consecutive month of a trade surplus for the country, according to the General Department of Customs.

Figures released by the department showed that the country's total import and export revenue reached 170.1 billion USD in the first eight months of this year, increasing 14.8 percent on last year's figures and achieving 67.6 percent of the year's target.

The country earned 85.16 billion USD from exports, accounting for a 15 percent increase on the same period last year. Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 84.99 billion USD in the in the first eight months of the year, representing a 14.4 percent increase.

Last month, the country reaped 11.92 billion USD and imported 11.32 billion USD, increasing 2.8 percent and 0.9 percent increase against the previous month.

Key export items including telephone and spare-parts earned a revenue of 13.39 billion USD, garment and textile 11.45 billion USD, computer and electricity products 6.78 billion USD, shoes 5.47 billion USD, machinery and equipment 3.87 billion USD, and 3.38 billion USD from wooden products.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises remained a driving force in import-export activity as the sector recorded export revenue of 51.55 billion USD from the beginning of the year, surging 26.7 percent against the same period last year and accounting for 60 percent of the country's total export value.

FDI brought in 48 billion USD in import revenue between January and August, up 24.3 percent from last year and accounting for 56.5 percent of total imports.

The department said the trade balance's return to surplus was due to a surge in exports in the second half of last month, reaching 755 million USD, an increase of 18.5 percent over the first half.

Vietnam 's import staples including machinery and equipment, spare parts and crude oil saw a decrease of 3.3 percent from the same period last year, according to the official data.

It added that the trade surplus will help the country improve its balance of payments, increase foreign reserves and help stabilise the foreign exchange rate.

The department said the result was encouraging given the economic downturn and high inventories.-VNA