A surge in exports has seen Vietnam's trade deficit drop sharply in the first two months of the year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said.

At the end of February, the trade deficit stood at 61 million USD, much lower than the 361 million USD recorded in January, it said.

Le Thi Minh Thuy, head of GSO's commerce department, said that with the long Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday falling in February, enterprises had rushed to fulfill their export contracts.

This saw the export value soar to 9.6 billion USD, 300 million USD higher than February imports, she said.

This difference accounted for the fall in trade deficit for the first two months compared to just January, she added.

In the first two months, a year-on-year increase of 8.6 percent in export value saw it reach 23.66 billion USD, against a corresponding surge of 23.4 percent in import value pushed it to 23.05 billion USD.

During the two months, foreign investment enterprises were the major exporters with a total export value of 16 billion USD, 12.4 percent higher than the same period last year. Meanwhile, domestic enterprises gained 7 billion USD, a slight surge of 0.7 percent.

The products of the FDI enterprises that earned large export values included electronics, computers and their components (2.12 billion USD, up 57.1 percent); telephones and components (4 billion USD, up 15.3 percent); other kinds of machines and equipment (1.11 billion USD, up 19.2 percent); and textile and garments (3.41 billion USD, up 17.7 percent).

Several export products of domestic enterprises did not grow in export value, including crude oil with an export value of 604 million USD, down 40.9 percent; rice with 237 million USD, down 35.6 percent; seafood with 875 million USD, down 12.6 percent; and coffee with 511 million USD, down 16.4 percent; as well as rubber with 202 million USD, down 6.3 percent.

Vietnam mainly imported goods for producing and assembling products for export. these imports were electronic products, computers and their components with a total import value of 3.27 billion USD, up 31.9 percent; telephones and components with 1.51 billion USD, up 26.2 percent; cloth with 1.28 billion USD, up 12.6 percent; and steel with 1.69 billion USD, up 15.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the value of petrol and oil imports fell 52.2 percent to reach 621 million USD.

China was still the largest import market of Vietnam, compared with other import markets such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the European Union, besides the United States.-VNA