The nation’s trade surplus so far this year reached 700 million USD by March 15, according to statistics from the General Department of Customs.

The country’s export value in the period hit 24.5 billion USD, up 23 percent over the same period last year while import value surged 17.9 percent to nearly 23.8 billion USD.

During the first two weeks of March, exports of such product as precious stones and jewelry, textiles and garments, mobile phones and components, crude oil and wood products saw significantly increasing value against late February, with turnover hitting 80 million USD to 350 million USD each.

Imports of several products including refined petroleum, animal feed, and machines and equipment also surged sharply, ranging between 90 million USD and 230 million USD for each type of product.

On March 21, the Ho Chi Minh City Statistics Office released estimates indicating the city enjoyed a 1.32 billion USD trade surplus for the first quarter of this year, including a 440.3 million USD trade surplus in March.

The city earned a total of 6.58 billion USD from exports in the first three months, up 12.8 percent year on year, of which key export staples included rice, sea-food, milk, garments and textiles, footwear and crude oil.

Meanwhile the city spent 5.26 billion USD on imports of goods and services during the period, a rise of 7.8 percent compared to last year.

Meanwhile, the Hanoi Statistics Office estimated the capital city had a 2.9 billion USD trade deficit in the first quarter of 2013, with exports inching up 0.3 percent to 2.4 billion USD while imports increased 2.9 percent to 5.35 billion USD.

The office attributed the insignificant export increase to low import demand from Vietnam’s key export markets -- the US, China and Europe.-VNA