Vietnam’s trade surplus hits a four-year record in 2019

Vietnam’s trade surplus reached a record high of $9.9 billion in 2019, according to the General Statistics Office’s monthly report, which revealed last year’s surplus was also the highest seen in the past four years, after $1.6 billion in 2016, $1.9 billion in 2017 and $6.8 billion in 2018.

Notably, the nation’s trade turnover surpassed the $500-billion mark for the first time in 2019, witnessing the stronger growth of the Vietnamese-invested sector compared to the foreign-invested sector, according to the report.

During the year, overseas shipments earned the country $263.45 billion, up 8.1 percent year-on-year and higher than the target set by the National Assembly and the government of 7-8 percent.

The domestic sector contributed $82.1 billion, or 31.2 percent, of total exports, up 18 percent year-on-year, while the foreign-invested sector made up $181 billion, up 4.2 percent year-on-year or 68.8 percent of the total (down 2.5 percentage points year-on-year).

Vietnam’s trade surplus

Six groups of goods posted an export value of more than $10 billion, including mobile phones and spare parts with $51.8 billion, up 5.3 percent; computers and components ($35.6 billion or 20.4 percent); textiles and garments ($32.6 billion or 7 percent); machinery, equipment and parts ($18.3 billion or 12 percent), footwear ($18.3 billion or 13 percent) and wood and wooden goods ($10.5 billion or 18 percent)., according to a Vietnamese newspaper report.

The US retained its position as the largest export market of the country with a turnover of $60.7 billion in 2019, marking a yearly hike of 28 percent. It was followed by the European Union ($41.7 billion), China ($41.5 billion), ASEAN ($25.3 billion), Japan ($20.3 billion), and South Korea ($19.8 billion).

From January to December, the country’s import revenue experienced a modest yearly increase of 7 percent, reaching $253.51 billion. It added imports mainly served export production at foreign-invested enterprises which accounted for 91.2 percent of the total import value.

Goods categories reported a significant import turnover such as raw materials with $119.5 billion or 47 percent of the total value; machinery, means of transport, and parts ($111.7 billion, or 44 percent) and consumer goods ($22.3 billion or 9 percent).

China continued to be the largest import market of Vietnam with a total turnover of $75.3 billion, signifying an increase of 15 percent. That meant Vietnam had to face an all-time high trade deficit of $33.8 billion with its neighbour.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s trade deficit with other markets such as ASEAN and South Korea experienced a slight decrease of 6 percent at $27.5 billion and 3.2 percent at $6.8 billion, respectively.

During a conference in Hà Nội late last week, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to diversify the country’s export markets to reach an export revenue of $300 billion in 2020.
“Diversifying export markets is important to reducing the risk of depending on single or several markets,” Phúc said.

He also announced a target of reaching a trade surplus of around $15-17 billion in 2020.


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