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Jan 31, 2023 / 10:05

Vietnam posts trade surplus of US$3.6 billion in January

The US remained Vietnam’s largest export market, with a revenue of $7.6 billion, while China was the top supplier of imported products at $8.1 billion.

Vietnam’s trade performance started in 2023 on a positive note as the country recorded a trade surplus of US$3.6 billion in January.

 Cargo handling at Dinh Vu port, Haiphong. Photos: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

Data released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed Vietnam’s total trade turnover at $46.56 billion, down 25% yearly. 

Upon breaking down, the country posted imports of $21.48 billion and exports of $25.08 billion, with the foreign-invested sector making up 74.3% of the total exports.

Of the export turnover, industrially processed products accounted for 89%, at $22.32 billion, followed by agro-forestry-fishery products at $1.9 billion (7.6%), and seafood for $600 million, or 2.4%.

The US remained Vietnam’s largest export market with a revenue of $7.6 billion, while China was the top supplier of imported products at $8.1 billion.

According to the GSO, a glim global economic outlook and subsequent lower consumption demand may cause negative impacts on Vietnam’s trade.

This combined with a declining trade revenue witnessed since the fourth quarter of last year and high inflationary pressure suggested a difficult year for local traders.

A recent study from the World Bank echoed the view with anticipation of global economic stagnancy in 2023, especially in the world’s major importers.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) stated Vietnam’s export prospects are largely dependent on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the economic situation with major trading partners.

The ministry, however, noted preferential treatment under free trade agreements that Vietnam is a part of. The country’s push for socio-economic recovery would continue to serve as the growth driving force for trade.

“An active stance in promoting foreign and domestic investment is another positive factor for exports in 2023,” it added.

 Customers at Big C Thang Long Supermarket, Hanoi. 

CPI surges in January

Vietnam’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose by 0.52% month on month and 4.89% year on year, while basic inflation also climbed by 5.21% on year.

The GSO attributed the high CPI growth in January to the Tet festive period during the month with a surge in consumption demand and hikes in prices of goods and services.

In addition, domestic petrol prices have also increased in line with higher demand in the global market and the adjustment of environmental protection tax on fuels and gas since early 2023.

Eight out of 11 commodity groups, which are components of the basket for CPI calculation, witnessed a month-on-month increase in prices. Among them, transportation posted the strongest rise, followed by food and catering services; garment; culture, entertainment, and tourism; medicine and healthcare services.

Two groups that saw their prices down in January were education and construction materials, while telecommunications remained unchanged.

Hanoi’s CPI during the first month of 2023 grew by 0.35% month on month and 3.09% year on year. In January, nine out of 11 commodity groups increased on a monthly basis, with transportation posting the highest growth at 1.14%, followed by beverages and cigarettes (1.01%); food and catering services (0.93%).

Two groups with a declining rate in January were housing, water, electricity supply, and construction material; and telecommunications.