09:38 | 24/04/2017 Trade
(VEN) - In the first three months of 2017, the value of Vietnamese exports reached an estimated US$43.7 billion, up 12.8 percent compared with the same period last year.
Seafood exports continue to recover and contribute significantly to Vietnam’s export growth
In the first three months of 2017, the value of Vietnamese exports reached an estimated US$43.7 billion, up 12.8 percent compared with the same period last year. In the first quarter of 2016, the export value grew 6.6 percent compared with the same period in 2015. A breakdown of the first quarter figure indicates a continuous upward trend: 2.2 percent in value in January 2017 compared with December 2016, 15.4 percent in February and 24.8 percent in March.
The export value growth in the first quarter of 2017 was attributed mostly to price rises. However, even if price rises were not taken into account, the export value growth would have been 6.7 percent, reflecting an increased export volume.
Fuels and minerals topped the list of export growth. The export value of products in this group reached an estimated US$1.05 billion, a rise of 43.5 percent or US$318 million compared with the same period last year. The growth was attributed mostly to price rises (coal prices were up 46 percent; crude oil 64 percent; liquefied petroleum gas 42 percent). Despite a 14.2 percent decrease in volume, the export value of crude oil grew 30.5 percent due to higher prices. Meanwhile, coal exports grew more than fivefold in volume and tenfold in value.
Agricultural, forest and aquatic products continued to contribute significantly to Vietnam’s export growth. The export value of products in this group reached US$5.46 billion, accounting for 12.5 percent of the total. Rice, pepper and cassava exports dropped in value. Despite a rise in volume, pepper exports declined due to price falls, while the export volume of rice decreased due to weak importer demand, high competition pressure and policy changes in some importing countries, including China. Meanwhile, seafood exports grew six percent, against 6.4 percent in the same period last year.
The export value of processing industry-related products grew 12.5 percent. While the export value of key products increased considerably (computers and electronic products 42.3 percent; machinery, equipment and spare parts 34.6 percent; textiles and garments 10.3 percent), telephone and component exports decreased 10.7 percent or about US$900 million in value. In the first quarter of 2016, telephone and component exports grew 14.2 percent compared with the same period in 2015.
Exports to China in the first quarter grew 43.3 percent compared with the same period last year; to Japan - 15.4 percent; Russia - 32.8 percent; and ASEAN - 21.6 percent. Exports to some other markets also increased but at lower rates compared with the same period last year, for example to the US - 4.1 percent, the Republic of Korea - 24.1 percent, and the EU - 4.5 percent.
As with exports, imports grew continuously in the first quarter of 2017 to reach an estimated US$45.6 billion, up 22.4 percent compared with the same period last year. In the first quarter of 2016, the import value decreased by nearly 4.4 percent. The import of machinery, equipment and materials to serve domestic production, as well as automobiles with less than nine seats, increased strongly, while the total import value of consumer goods fell 7.5 percent.
Although the import value growth was also attributed mostly to price rises, it would nonetheless have reached 18.6 percent if price hikes were not taken into account. While companies with 100 percent domestic capital recorded a 24.4 percent increase in their import value in the first quarter, the import value of foreign-invested businesses grew at a lower rate, 21.1 percent.
Reflecting high demand for investment in domestic production, the import of machinery, equipment, fuels and materials grew 23.3 percent and accounted for 87.6 percent of the total import value. In the first quarter of 2016, the import value of goods in this group decreased by five percent compared with the same period in 2015. Fast-growing imports included fibers (25.8 percent), plastic materials (33.2 percent), steel and iron (45.4 percent), machinery, equipment and spare parts (28.3 percent).
Imports of consumer goods dropped 7.5 percent (in the first quarter of 2016 this grew nearly nine percent). The decrease was attributed mostly to a 46.1 percent decline in the import of mobile phones. But this drop was offset by strong growth in the imports of fully assembled automobiles with nine seats or less - 82.1 percent - due to reductions in import and excise taxes.
Increases were seen in imports from all markets. Specifically, imports from the Republic of Korea grew 36.1 percent, Japan 23.3 percent, the US 32.1 percent, ASEAN 17.7 percent, and China 12.3 percent.
Vietnam faced a trade deficit of about US$1.9 billion, equivalent to 4.4 percent of the export value, in the first quarter of 2017. While companies with 100 percent domestic capital recorded a trade deficit of US$6.7 billion, foreign-invested businesses recorded a trade surplus of US$4.17 billion.
A decrease of nearly US$900 million in the export value of telephones and components, and a strong increase in the import of input materials for domestic production were major reasons for the trade deficit.
Below are nine groups of goods with higher import value in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year:
- Computers, electronic products and components, up US$955 million;
- Iron, steel, ferrous metals and products made of these materials, scraps, up US$1.26 billion;
- Fuels, up US$709 million;
- Chemicals, up US$430 million;
- Materials for textile, garment and footwear production, up US$471 million;
- Animal feed, up US$258 million;
- Cashew nuts, up US$204 million.
The import value of goods in these groups increased by a total of about US$6.6 billion, equivalent to 79 percent of all import
value rises. This trend is predicted to continue in the second quarter of 2017.