Imports exceeded exports in March by 300 million USD, marking the return of the trade deficit after the country experienced a trade surplus in the first two months of this year and in 2012.
The country exported 11 billion USD worth of goods in March and imported 11.3 billion USD in the same period, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Head of the GSO’s trade department Le Thi Minh Thuy attributed the trade deficit to the increased import demands of domestic businesses, while the export value of some key products had declined.
However, she said the trade balance in the first three months remains positive with exports exceeding imports, at 29.6 billion USD and 29.2 billion USD, respectively.
Most of the trade surplus in the first three months came from the foreign-invested sector, with export value at 19.2 billion USD and import value reaching 16.1 billion USD, up 25.6 percent and 25.5 percent.
The domestic sector’s export value hit 10.4 billion USD in the same period, and import value reached 13 billion USD.
Exports during the first three months of this year mainly consisted of electrical products and components which reached 7.2 billion USD, of which mobile phones accounted for 4.5 billion USD.
The GSO said some key products posted falls in export value during the period, including seafood (1.26 billion USD, down 2.3 percent), coffee (1.92 billion USD, down 1.5 percent) and rubber (522 million USD, down 16.7 percent).
Items that posted high import value during the period included garments and textiles (3.8 billion USD, up 18.5 percent), footwear (1.7 billion USD, up 14.7 percent), crude oil (1.8 billion USD, up 13.1 percent).
The country posted an annual trade surplus in 2012 for the first time in two decades after three years of narrowing deficits, as the slowest economic growth in 13 years curbed import demand.
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