January retail sales enjoy biggest increase in five years hinh anh 1The purchasing power in the year-end month saw a record high (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The domestic market would continue to thrive in 2016, said Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Domestic Market Department Vo Van Quyen.

This prediction has been confirmed by the initial positive retail sales at the beginning of this year.

Quyen told the online meeting held in Hanoi on February 1 that the purchasing power in January, prior to the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday which falls on February 8, increased 3.5 percent from the previous month and posted an 11 percent year-on-year rise.

The purchasing power in the year-end month saw a record high as compared to the past five years while the consumer price index stayed flat compared in December, helping stabilise the domestic market.

He said his agency has ordered the Departments of Industry and Trade in 53 of the 63 provinces and centrally-run cities to ensure that the supply of goods meets demand and at stable prices during Tet, while surveillance should be stepped up to prevent counterfeit and low-quality goods.

In addition, price stabilisation and promotional programmes at 50 supermarkets nationwide have facilitated people in their purchasing.

All of the price stabilisation points have been selling Vietnamese goods and expected consumption in the holiday to be 10 to 15 percent higher than previous months.

Deputy Minister Tran Tuan Anh said that in addition to exports, the domestic market has received special attention from the ministry, as well as the Government and the National Assembly in recent years.

The domestic market is instrumental to national economic growth, Anh added.

However, he asked the department to have specific plans to ensure supply of necessary goods.

Le Ngoc Dao, Deputy Director of HCM City's Department of Industry and Trade, said businesses in the city have sufficient supply of necessary products such as vegetables, fruits, seafood and rice for Tet.

The city has also cooperated with neighbouring provinces to provide clean goods to people with 300 booths meeting VietGap standards.

"Abundant goods and stable prices are prepared before and after Tet. The city will have several promotional programmes during the holiday," Dao said.

"Export turnover of processing sector saw low growth of 2.8 percent in January. The reason was due to the decrease in export of phones and electronics spare parts," Nguyen Thuy Hien, Deputy Director of the ministry's Planning Department said.

Hien said export turnover was estimated at 13.8 billion USD, increasing 2.2 percent from the same period last year, while that of imports was 14 billion USD, making the trade deficit 200 million USD.

Deputy Minister Anh noted that the sector should make plans to unravel the difficulties facing the processing and manufacturing sector.-VNA