Vietnam 's trade deficit in the first nine months of the year reaches 6.84 billion USD, equal to 9.7 percent of the total export turnover, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has reported.

The country earns 70 billion USD from exports, up 35.4 percent over the same period last year, while spending 76.9 billion USD on imports, up 27 percent.

The deficit is much lower than that of the first half of the year when the rate was equal to 15.7 percent of the total export earnings.

Director of the GSO Trade Department Le Thi Minh Thuy attributed the positive result to successful implementation of Government's policies to restrict the import of luxury goods and encourage the use of locally made products.

Thuy said the decrease in imports in the first nine months was also due to a local production slowdown, which reduced the quantity of import materials needed for local production.

"Production is often highly dependent on imported materials," she said.

She forecast that imports would increase significantly during the remaining months of the year when local production was expected to improve.

During the surveyed period, imports of machines, equipment and materials accounted for 91.2 percent of the country's total import value.

Imports of rubber and liquefied petroleum gas saw the highest growth rate of 66 percent and 62.4 percent over the same period last year, valued at 739 million and 571 million USD, respectively.

Imports of chemicals, cloth, and electrical products, computers and parts also reported high growth rates of more than 30 percent.

The GSO attributed the high rise in exports to global price hikes, which contributed nearly 20 percent to the country's export turnover.

Coffee, pepper, rice and cassava benefited the most from higher export prices.

The GSO said coffee fetched nearly 2.2 billion USD, up 63.9 percent in the first nine months despite a modest increase of 7 percent in volume.

With a 15 percent rise in terms of volume, pepper also contributed 646 million USD to the total export earnings, up 94 percent.

The export value of crude oil increased by 52.3 percent to 5.55 billion USD though its export volume surged only 4 percent.

Among 17 export staples, which earned more than 1 billion USD each in the first nine months, garments and textiles topped the list with 10.5 billion USD, up 31 percent. Footwear and seafood followed with 4.76 billion USD and 4.4 billion USD, up 30.8 percent and 26.4 percent. /.