Exports of Vietnamese wood products to the US in the first quarter of this year have surged 8.4 percent compared to the same period in 2012, with figures hitting 394 million USD.

The amount accounts for one third of the country's total furniture exports all over the world, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Vietnam's total furniture exports have also increased significantly in 2012, reaching 1.78 billion USD, up 24 percent year-on-year.

In 2011 the sector experienced only a modest growth of 3 percent.

The vice chairman of Ho Chi Minh City's Handicraft and Wood Industry Association, Dang Quoc Hung, attributed the good results to the fact that US consumers are now replacing furniture after two years of curbing their spending.

In addition, he said US companies had sold out their inventories and so needed to import more to meet consumers' demand for this year.

American businesses used to mainly import wood products from China . However, now they have started to receive resources from a range of countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, a representative from the US-based TigerTrade, which specialises in export promotion, told Saigon Times Online. Far-sighted Vietnamese enterprises have spotted the trend and taken advantage.

The deputy general director of Truong Thanh Wood Processing Company, Ngo Thi Hong Thu, said that some businesses are struggling to fulfil all of their orders due to their restricted financial capacity.

Despite the introduction of lower interest rates, these firms have still encountered difficulties in accessing bank loans, he added.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, Director of Nguyen Thanh Furniture Company agreed. He said many wood processing companies, especially domestic ones, were now facing capital shortages meaning that they were unable to utilise the huge opportunities presented by the US market.-VNA