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Vietnam sees 2011 trade gap at $14-14.5 bln

Vietnam’s trade deficit this year will widen to between US$14 billion and $14.5 billion, up more than 10 percent from 2010, despite stronger-than-expected growth in export revenues, the government said.

Exports would jump 17-18.4 percent from last year to between $84.5 billion and $85.5 billion, following strong growth in the first half of the year, the government said in a statement issued late on Monday.

Imports for the whole of 2011 could reach an estimated $99 billion, leaving the annual trade deficit at around 16 percent of the country’s exports, in line with a government target for 2011 approved by the National Assembly, the statement said.

Exports in the first six months jumped 30.3 percent from a year ago to $42.3 billion, while January-June imports rose 25.8 percent to $48.99 billion, the government said last month.

The government released the revised annual trade projections after a trade ministry meeting on Monday to review performance in the first half of 2011.

Vietnam had previously projected the annual trade deficit for 2011 at $14 billion, with exports and imports both rising 10 percent.

Vietnam has been facing a trade deficit every month since April 2009, after recording monthly trade surplus each month in the first quarter of 2009.

The trade gap last month estimated at $400 million is the smallest since March 2009’s surplus, government data show.

Vietnam’s economy is expected to quicken its growth next year to 6.5 percent from a projected 6 percent in 2011, with exports rising to between $95.2 billion to $97 billion, the Planning and Investment Ministry said in a report last month.

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee after Brazil. It also ranks the second-biggest exporter of rice after Thailand.

Rice exports this year are expected to rise to 7 million tonnes, a Vietnam Food Association representative was quoted by Tuesday’s official Vietnam Economic Times newspaper as speaking at the trade ministry meeting on Monday.
Last year Vietnam exported a record high of 6.83 million tonnes of rice.

Source: Tuoitrenews