Harvesting coffee for exports (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
Vietnam recorded a trade deficit of 1.3 billion USD in May, resulting in a total deficit of 548 million USD for the first five months of the year, according to General Statistics Office (GSO)'s monthly report.

The domestic sector reported a trade deficit of 13.3 billion USD in the period, while foreign-invested firms posted a trade balance of 12.7 billion USD.

GSO statisticians blamed the return to a trade deficit on slowing growth of exports in May. In the first four months of the year, the country posted a surplus of 771 million USD.

They said the country’s import-export turnover reached more than 202 billion USD in the five-month period, a year-on-year rise of 7 percent. However, this growth rate was much lower than 19 percent and 17.5 percent seen in the same periods of 2018 and 2019, respectively, with key export items such as rice, coffee and cashew nuts posting turnover reductions of between 14 and 23 percent.

Phones and parts recorded the highest export turnover of approximately 20 billion USD, accounting for 20 percent of total exports, up 3 percent year on year, followed by electronics, computers and components (12 billion USD, up 11 percent), garments (12.1 billion USD, up 10 percent) and footwear (7.1 billion USD, up 14 percent).

Other areas were equipment and parts with 7 billion USD, up 6 percent year on year, wood and furniture (4 billion USD, up 18 percent) and vehicles and parts (3.6 billion USD, up 5 percent).

The US remained Vietnam's biggest export market in the period, spending nearly 23 billion USD on Vietnamese goods, a yearly hike of 28 percent. The EU ranked second at 17 billion USD, up 2 percent and China came third with 14 billion USD, down 3 percent.

GSOs figures also showed that import turnover between January and May topped more than 100 billion USD, surging 10 percent over the same period last year. The domestic sector hit 44 billion USD, up 15 percent, while the foreign-invested sector hit nearly 58 billion USD, up 7 percent.

China retained its position as Vietnam's largest source of imports with turnover of 29.6 billion USD, with products recording significant growth including electronics, computers and components at 83 percent; machinery, equipment and spare parts at 28 percent and fabric at 13 percent.

The Republic of Korea came next with 19.2 billion USD, up 1 percent, and ASEAN countries ranked third with 14 billion USD, up 9 percent. Japan, the US and the EU followed.

GSO statisticians noted that Vietnam saw an increase of 46 percent in its trade deficit with China to total of 16 billion USD in the period. The RoK hit 11 billion USD, down 4 percent; and ASEAN was 3.3 billion USD, up 26 percent. - VNA