Vietnam's export turnover was estimated at 5.25 billion USD in February, a decline of 26 percent in comparison with the previous month's figure, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on Feb. 24.

The country's import turnover hit 6.2 billion USD in February, a decline of 22 percent, earmarking the second consecutive month the trade deficit has been held at less than 1 billion USD.

The country had a trade deficit of over 1 billion USD in the last three months of last year.

Export and import turnover in the first two months of the year totalled 12.34 billion USD and 14.168 billion USD, respectively, a rise of 40.3 percent and 26 percent, compared with the first two months of 2010.

Director of the GSO's Trade Department Le Minh Thuy said that the long new year holiday had led to a temporary drop in export turnover.

Both foreign direct invested and domestic enterprises saw the same growth pace in the first two months, the GSO said.

The GSO also said that exported commodities had increased in both volume and value, partly due to high global prices. 24 of 26 export commodities experienced an increase in revenue including crude oil, up 23.3 percent; rice, up 50 percent; rubber, up 175 percent; seafood, up 41.1 percent; coffee, up 47 percent and cashews, up 43.8 percent.

Meanwhile, several other commodities also experienced gains, with textiles and garments, up 54.2 percent; shoes and footwear, up 37.8 percent and steel, up 85 percent.

Exports of gemstone and precious metals were estimated at 39 million USD, a rise of 28 percent in comparison with the same period last year.

Only pepper and coal export turnovers declined due to a decrease in volume.

Imports of milk and dairy products, fertiliser, pesticide and means of transport dropped although other commodities experienced a rise in import revenues. Cotton imports were up 102.9 percent in comparison with the same period last year, followed by fibre, petrol, cloth, computers and accessories and plastic materials.

Imports of both automobiles and motorbikes also increased.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to curb the trade deficit, the country would import around 81.7 percent of necessary commodities this year while the remainder would be strictly controlled./.