The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam’s trade deficit has widened to $15.8 billion for the first nine months of the year, nearly double the figure for the same period last year, the General Statistical Office said Wednesday.
From January through September, exports surged 39 percent from a year ago to $48.5 billion, while imports in the period totaled $64.3 billion, jumping 48.3 percent, the statistics office said.
The GSO often issues trade data ahead of the month’s end based on estimates.
Vietnam’s imports were boosted by shipments of machinery, refined gasoline and steel.
The trade deficit in the same period last year was $8.5 percent, and it was $14.1 billion for all of 2007.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s inflation has skyrocketed, hitting 27.9 this month, according to government figures issued earlier this week.
Vietnam’s overheating economy has experienced spiraling inflation and a large trade gap.
In an effort to narrow the widening trade deficit and curb rising prices, the country has slashed its growth target for this year to 7 percent from 8 percent.
The government also said it would aim to keep trade gap for the whole year this year below $20 billion, state media reported.
The Asian Development Bank has lowered its growth forecast for Vietnam to 6.5 percent this year and 6 percent next year.
Last year the country’s economy expanded by 8.2 percent.