The agency reported that the country exported goods worth US$19 billion in January, dropping by 15.8% from a year earlier while it spent US$19.1 billion on imports, down 14.4%.
The domestic sector reported an estimated trade deficit of US$2.4 billion while the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector posted a trade surplus of roughly US$2.3 billion.
The former’s exports were down 11.4% from a year ago to US$6.31 billion this month while FDI firms generated US$12.69 billion worth of outbound shipments, down 15.7%.
According to Dau Tu newspaper, import and export activities usually feel the impact of long holidays, especially the Lunar New Year that always sees a sharp rise in consumer goods imports, leading to a trade deficit.
A number of Vietnamese exports which witnessed year-on-year increases included electronics, computers and components (US$2.6 billion, up 5.6%), and timber and wooden products (US$1 billion, up 1.4%).
Meanwhile, the exports of textiles and garments dropped by 21% to US$2.6 billion, phones and their parts also worth US$2.6 billion, down 22.4%; and footwear worth US$1.6 billion, down 9.7%.
Importers spent around US$3.7 billion on electronics, computers and their parts, down 8.5% against the previous year; US$3.2 billion on machinery, equipment and components, down 6.8%; and US$1.1 billion on phones and parts, down 9.5%.
In January, the United States remained Vietnam’s largest export market, spending US$4.8 billion on Vietnamese goods, marking a year-on-year drop of 7.6%. Following were China with US$3.7 billion, up 32.8%, and the European Union with US$2.6 billion, down 30.8%.
In contrast, China was the largest supplier of the Southeast Asian nation as it sold some US$6.2 billion worth of goods to Vietnam, down 7.1% from a year ago.
The republic of Korea came next with shipments to Vietnam worth US$3.2 billion, followed by the Association of Southeast Asian nations with a combined value of US$2.4 billion, down 22.8% and 10.8%, respectively.