Vietnam’s Trade Surplus Widens Through February

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Feb. 27 – The General Statistics Office (GSO) in Hanoi released numbers indicating that Vietnam’s trade surplus widened in February with exports exceeding imports by US$900 million. The GSO also revised January’s trade balance to a surplus of US$776 million.

Exports fell to US$7.5 billion in February from US$11.47 billion in January, a drop that was likely caused by the week-long Tet Lunar New Year celebration earlier this month during which factories and other businesses were closed. Total exports over the first two months of the year rose 23.9 percent year-on-year to US$18.97 billion.

February imports fell to US$6.6 billion from US$10.7 billion in January, yet the first two months of 2013 saw a 10.2 percent year-on-year climb to $17.3 billion.

Thanks to Vietnam posting an annual trade surplus in 2012 for the first time in over 20 years, the central bank was able to maintain the stability of the Vietnamese dong, which is currently being traded at 20,835VND per dollar in Hanoi.

Concerns regarding the vitality of the Vietnamese economy still remain however. Due to the rising level of debt, there has been an increased reluctance by Vietnamese banks to lend, which in turn has curbed corporate expansion and import demand. Foreign companies drove export growth last year, yet local firms struggled to increase shipments. While investment does remain steady, increasing inflationary pressure may sap the confidence of investors in the coming year.

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