Vietnam Forecasts US$19.9 Billion Trade Deficit in 2009

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Nov. 24 – A government trade report said that Vietnam’s trade deficit is forecast to reach US$19.9 billion by 2009 as imports and exports slow.

Currently, the country's trade deficit is expected to amount to US$19 billion.The government has been trying to cap the trade deficit by increasing exports and discouraging the import of luxury goods.

In 2009, export growth is expected to slow to 18 percent from 2008's estimated 32 percent. On the other hand, import growth is expected to slow to 15 percent from 31.8 percent.

Rice exports in 2009 are expected to stay flat at 4.5 million tonnes, coffee shipments would rise 9 per cent to 1.2 million tonnes, and crude oil exports would drop 14.3 per cent to 12 million tonnes, according to the Industry and Trade Ministry report.

The report said that overall exports next year would increase to US$76.7 billion while imports would grow to US$96.6 billion.

“Key raw material items will still be imported from Asia given the advantage in distance, taste and price, followed by the EU and America,” the report said.

Recently, the government revised its rojected gross domestic product growth target for next year from 7 percent to 6.5 percent.