Vietnam monthly trade deficit widens to $1.9 billion on imports.
Vietnam's monthly trade deficit widened to US$1.9 billion in October, as the nation's imports decline eased amid accelerating economic growth.
HSBC Holdings Plc warns that Vietnam's
trade gap is moving "sharply higher again,"
driven by rising credit and economic growth.
Exports this month are estimated at $4.75 billion, while imports are seen at $6.65 billion, the General Statistics Office said in Hanoi Tuesday. Vietnam's trade gap was $1.8 billion in September, based on revised figures. For the year as a whole, the trade shortfall narrowed 47 percent through October from the same period a year earlier to $8.78 billion.
Concerns are increasing about the recent pace of growth in Vietnam's trade deficit, after a surplus was reported earlier in 2009, with HSBC Holdings Plc warning that the gap is moving "sharply higher again," driven by rising credit and economic growth. The deficit is causing investors to avoid local bonds, Indochina Capital Vietnam Holdings Ltd. said this month.
"With the economy picking up, pressure on the trade gap has not eased," said Johanna Chua, the head of Asian economic research at Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. "A major driver has been the sharp recovery in imports, up almost 90 percent from the January troughs, led by a striking import recovery of steel, autos, and electronics, the latter likely supporting the export recovery."
Imports slipped 22 percent through October to $55.1 billion, after retreating 25 percent through September, based on Tuesday's preliminary figures.
The recent acceleration in the growth of the trade deficit has been driven by "more capital- and consumption-intensive imports," Dragon Capital said in a research note this month.
Vietnam's export decline also eased through October, as the Southeast Asian nation benefited from rising global oil prices and increased rice shipments. Overseas sales fell 14 percent from a year earlier to $46.3 billion, down from a revised 15 percent drop through September, the General Statistics Office in Hanoi said Tuesday.
Exports are beginning to benefit from a recent increase in crude oil prices, as well as from a record year in Vietnamese rice shipments. The Vietnamese government expects a 6 percent increase next year in exports, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the National Assembly last week.
Vietnam's export performance has been "reasonable in a period where global demand and international trade flows have been so disrupted," said Matt Robinson, a Sydney-based senior economist for Moody's Economy.com. "Vietnam is already competitive on labor costs, and it's getting a further boost because its currency is one of the only in Asia to depreciate recently against the dollar."
The Vietnamese dong is currently trading at about 17,858 per dollar, compared with 17,483 at the end of 2008.
Oil exports rose 8 percent by volume to 12.11 million tons. Shipments by value slipped 43 percent to $5.38 billion, compared with a 46 percent initial decline reported through September. The average global price of crude oil has increased about 8 percent in October compared with September.
Vietnam will probably post a full-year trade deficit of about $11 billion, Vinacapital Investment Management Ltd. said this month.
Nguyen Van Giau, governor of Vietnam's central bank, this month cited the "much lower" trade deficit as an indication of a stabilization in the country's macroeconomic indicators, during a speech at a joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund meeting in Turkey.