Vietnam recorded a $1.1 billion trade surplus in July, the first surplus in the latest 28 months, according to the general Customs Department of Vietnam.
Exports and imports totalled $9.32 billion and $8.22 billion respectively, said the department.
Gold re-export revenue is the main cause of this change, said the department, with export turnover in the group of gemstones, precious metals and jewellery products reaching $1.11 billion, up 38 percent over the previous month.
Exports of this group in H1/2011 reached $2.318 billion, up 51.6 percent over the same period last year.
The new figure is in sharp contrast to estimates last month by the general Statistical Office that Vietnam would suffer a trade deficit in July of $200 million.
But many experts fear the trade balance this month may bear a risk of having deficit since the State Bank of Vietnam has approved the import of 5 tonnes of gold, and a plan for another 5 tonnes, to keep up with rising domestic demands.
World gold price, after exceeding the $1,800 threshold last Tuesday, is hovering around $1,890 currently.
Another risk is the rising trade deficit with China which has overshadowed aforementioned trade surplus figure with $1.9 billion, decreasing 5 percent month on month and accounting for 23 percent of the country’s total import value in July.
Totally, in January-July, Vietnam’s export turnover to China fetched $5.56 billion while the country’s import spending from China was up to $13 billion, leading a trade gap of $7.46 billion from China in the first seven months of this year, equaling 140 percent of the country’s total trade deficit in the period.
Of which, import items with high value in Jan-July included cloths ($1.65 billion), computer and electronic products and components ($1.08 billion) and machines, equipments and instruments ($2.8 billion).
In 2010, Vietnam’s trade deficit from China was $12.6 billion, equaling 105 percent of the country’s trade gap last year.
Trade deficit caused by foreign firms is also on a rise.
In July, foreign-owned enterprises posted a trade deficit of $104 million from nearly $8 million in previous month.
The import value of foreign-owned enterprises in July was over $3.991 billion, rising 3.9 percent from the previous month and accounting for 48.5 percent of the country’s total import value in month.
Meanwhile, the export turnover of foreign firms reached nearly $3.887 billion, up 1.4 percent on month and accounting for 41.7 percent of the country’s total export turnover in month.
Totally, in the first 7 months of this year, foreign businesses imported $25.7 billion, up 25.8 percent year-on-year, bringing the trade gap of foreign firms in Jan-July to $1.77 billion, accounting for 32.71 percent of the country’s total trade deficit.