The domestic industrial production index in May increased 4.4 percent over the previous month, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on June 4.

While the processing and power, gas and water distribution sectors rose 5.2 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, the mining industry declined 3.7 percent over April, the ministry said at a meeting in Hanoi .

The index increased 6.8 percent compared to last May. In the first five months it went up by 4.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Of the three sectors, processing industries grew 3.8 percent compared to 12.6 percent last year.

The index had improved over the first quarter but it had dropped significantly compared to the same period in previous years," said Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong.

"It hints at lots of difficulties within the industrial sector, especially the processing field," Vuong said.

Concerns over what was termed the inadequate reduction in petrol and gas prices were raised at the meeting, as global prices had fallen further than domestic rates.

"Petrol prices cannot be correspondingly reduced to international levels, considering the benefits of the State and petrol enterprises," said a representative of the domestic market management team.

Meanwhile, lifting the price stabilisation fund to support the petrol price was still the main measure.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said it will co-operate with the Ministry of Finance to work with gas dealers in a programme to ease gas prices.

In addition, trade deficit data was also released on June 4. The figure was estimated to reach 622 million USD in the first five months of the year, accounting for 1.45 percent of total export turnover.

Vietnam still reported higher imports than exports with some Asian markets, such as mainland China (5.3 billion USD), ASEAN region (2.5 billion USD), the Republic of Korea (3.7 billion USD) and Taiwan (2.7 billion USD).

However, foreign invested companies, excluding those involving crude oil, posted a trade surplus of 960 million USD.

In order to both boost exports and tackle high inventories, the market management team said, businesses should seek more ways to promote trade and expand their distribution networks.

One possible measure was to actively co-ordinate with banks and their own investors. VNA