Optimistic export signals

08:58 | 23/05/2017 Trade

(VEN) - After a 15-percent increase in first quarter export value, the Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast exports will continue to grow in the second quarter as well.  

Price advantages

At a recent weekly assembly of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Hanoi, director of the ministry’s Import-Export Department, Phan Van Chinh, said exports hit US$17.25 billion in March (up 14.3 percent from March 2016). This brings the total to US$44.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, 15.1 percent higher than the same period of 2016. The trade deficit was US$1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2017, equivalent to 4.3 percent of the country’s export value during the same period.

The increased export value was mainly attributed to increased prices of goods. The growth of 46, 64 and 42 percent in coal, fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices, respectively, increased the value of mineral and fuel exports to US$1.05 billion, 43.5 percent more than the same period last year. Although they decreased 14.2 percent in volume, crude oil exports increased 30.5 percent in value due to a 50.4-percent price increase. Prices for farm produce, forest product, seafood and processed product exports also increased compared to 2016.

Exports to China increased 43.3 percent, while those to Japan were up 15.4 percent. Sales to Russia soared 32.8 percent, and exports to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries improved 21.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016. The increases should be evaluated in the context of constantly declining exports to Japan and ASEAN in 2016.

Further growth

The Ministry of Industry and Trade predicted exports will continue to increase in value in the second quarter of 2017, given that in the first quarter of this year, businesses increased imports of fuels, corn, rubber, cotton and steel, among others materials for export production.

Usually, farm produce, seafood, textile/garment, footwear and furniture exports begin to increase in the middle and peak at the end of the year. Hence, the potential to increase exports in the coming months appears significant.

Vietnam’s export value remains highly dependent on major commodities and markets. In the first quarter, for example, if Samsung phone exports had not dropped by US$888 million, the country’s exports would have grown 19 percent instead of 15.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Tuan Anh, said at the ministry’s recent weekly assembly that further diversification of exports and markets is important to maintain sustainable development of exports and avoid dependence on specific commodities and markets. He advised businesses to increase their trade with nearby markets, such as China and ASEAN countries, where quality requirements are not as high as in Western markets but market demand is high. They should also promote farm produce, forest product, seafood, textile/garment and footwear exports through product quality improvement and branding, he added.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue to smooth the way for domestic production and export production, and

enhance market information and trade promotion to facilitate the penetration of Vietnamese firms into new markets.

Phuong Lan