Vietnam’s March export turnover has recorded US$2.5 billion so far, surpassing US$600 million over February, reports the General Statistic Office. However, total export turnover is estimated at only US$6.72 billion, lower than the target set by the Ministry of Trade by nearly US$200 million in the first quarter of 2005, the GSO said.
Meanwhile, the country’s import spending in March was US$2.8 billion, bringing the total to US$7.85 billion in the whole first quarter, over the target by the trade ministry by US$250 million.
It is noteworthy that Vietnamese-owned businesses are continuously responsible for the trade gap. Foreign-invested enterprises exported US$3.77 billion whereas Vietnamese businesses earned only nearly US$2.95 billion from exporting goods.
In the meantime, FIEs’ spending on imports of goods is estimated at US$2.69 billion, but Vietnamese businesses spent up to US$5.15 billion on imports.
Of the key export commodities, in Q1 total earnings from exports of coal reached US$128 million, up 22.8% in quantity and 76.2% in value against the same period of last year. Plastics posted US$73 million in its export turnover, up 63%. Earnings from exports of cashew grew 53.2%, equivalent US$88 million. Crude oil reached the highest export turnover of US$1.579 billion, up 30.3% over the same period of last year.
However, the export growth of key commodities is continuously slowing down. Woodwork and furniture only reached an export turnover of US$264 million, up 17.9% against the same period of last year. This growth speed in the Q1 is much lower than compared with 70% as targeted for the whole year, which might thwart the target of export turnover of US$1.5 billion by the trade ministry.
Due to difficulties and obstacles concerning quotas and markets, garment and textile’s export turnover in the whole first quarter reached only US$905 million, up 2.9% against the same period and too low compared with the targeted plan of US$5.2 billion.
The two other key export commodities of footwear and aquatic products only in turn reached US$651 million, up 3.6% and US$480, up 8%.
Four commodities’ export turnover has decreased respectively, comprising coffee, pepper, cooking oil, and bicycle and bike components, spare parts. Noticeably, the reason resulting in decrease in the bicycle and bike components, spare parts’ export turnover is due to the anti-dumping lawsuit by a key export market—Canada.
One more commodity that has been put into the key export commodities list is precious stones and precious metals, bringing total key export commodities to 24. Earnings from exports of this commodity are estimated at US$26 million.
Of the list of key imported commodities, capital equipment and machinery still ranks first in export turnover and growth speed. In Q1, Vietnam has imported US$1.28 billion of machinery and equipment, up 27.5% over the same period of 2004. The country also has imported US$236 million of vehicles, up 51% and US$135 million of complete motorbikes, up 65%.
In the first three-months of 2005, the country’s spending on imports of 2.97 million tonnes of petroleum products and oil is estimated at US$921 million, down 5.4% in quantity but up 8.8% in value.
Payments of 1.16 million tonnes of imported steel are US$626 million, down 1,3% in quality and up 21.8% in value. Particularly, imports of fertiliser have decreased sharply, reached only 468,000 tonnes worth of US$92 million, down 55.8% in quantity and 48.5% in value.