The national trade deficit in the first 10 months of this year was kept at nearly 8.4 billion USD while the figure of the same period last year was 9.5 billion USD, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The GSO report said during this period, the country earned 78.03 billion USD from exports, an increase of 34.6 percent over the same period last year, which was a significant growth.

It was three times higher than the annual growth target that the Government had set at the beginning of this year, it said.

Head of the office's Trade Department Le Minh Thuy attributed the increasing export value to high prices of some products in comparison with the same period in 2010, such as pepper, rubber and cassava.

Garment products topped the list of 27 main exports, with a turnover of 11.7 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 29.4 percent.

However, pepper, cassava and cassava-based exports gained the highest growth. Pepper
products fetched 700 million USD, strongly surging by 93.9 percent. Meanwhile, cassava and cassava-based exports earned 823 million USD, up by 93.4 percent against the first 10 months of 2010.

The US remains Vietnam 's biggest partner, followed by the EU, Southeast Asia , China and Japan .

In terms of imports, the country spent 86.4 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent, of which goods serving production such as petrol, chemicals and steel accounted for a large portion.

Thuy explained that high prices were the main reasons pushing up the import turnover in the first 10 months.

Petrol imports totalled 8.6 billion USD while steel and iron imports were worth 5.7 billion USD and fertiliser imports reached 1.4 billion USD.

Thuy predicted that the trade deficit would continue to increase in the last two months of this year.

In October alone, the national trade deficit dropped by nearly 50 percent month-on-month, hitting just 800 million USD.

This month, the country has earned 8.3 billion USD from exports, an increase of 4.5 percent over September. Meanwhile, it spent 9.1 billion USD on imports, dipping 3.7 percent month-on-month./.