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August: Import and export are still higher than average in the first months of the year

10:11 | 15/10/2021

VCN - Along with the Covid-19 pandemic being gradually controlled, import and export activities have shown signs of recovery, especially in the northern key economic region.

Import and export turnover by month in the first 8 months of the year. Chart: T.Binh
Import and export turnover by month in the first 8 months of the year. Chart: T.Binh

Pillars from high-tech products group

According to the General Department of Customs, in August, due to the heavy impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, imports and exports of 19 southern provinces and cities only reached US$18.5 billion, a decrease of 23% (equivalent to a decrease of US$5.6 billion) compared to July. Of which, exports reached US$8.2 billion, down 28% (equivalent to US$3.2 billion) and imports reached US$10.3 billion, down 19% (correspondingly down US$2.4 billion).

Compared with June 2021 when social distancing was not implemented, import and export also decreased sharply by 30%. Of which, exports decreased by 41% and imports decreased by 18%. Three key units and also the most complicated pandemic areas deeply decreased. Specifically, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department decreased by 39.3% in export and 15% in import; Dong Nai Customs Department decreased by 40.4% in export and 16.3% in import; Binh Duong Customs Department decreased 48% in export and 31% in import.

Industries with many factories in the South such as wood and wood products; footwear; textiles, were heavily affected in August. Specifically, the export turnover of wood and products in August decreased by 39.1% compared to July 2021; footwear was down 40.2%; textile and garment decreased by 14.9%.

Meanwhile, in the northern localities such as Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, with the pandemic being effectively controlled, import and export activities have had an impressive recovery, helping the overall picture of Vietnam improve significantly. Specifically, in the last 15 days of August, the country's import-export turnover reached US$30.49 billion (equivalent to more than US$2 billion each day), a sharp increase of 26.5% (equivalent to an increase of US$6.39 billion) compared to the previous results in the first half of August 2021.

In fact, import-export turnover in Northern Vietnam key economic region can "carry" the decline in the southern localities, because Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang or Hai Phong are home to the production factories of the largest groups of import and export goods related to electronic and high-tech goods such as phones and components; computers, electronic products and components.

On the other hand, factories and industrial parks in the North were mostly newly built, better reaching the "3-on-the-spot" working conditions and pandemic prevention and control requirements, so the maintenance of production is more efficient than in the southern provinces and cities.

Typically, at the Bac Ninh Customs Department (customs management in three provinces: Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang) there was a strong recovery after the pandemic was controlled. In July, exports reached US$7.2 billion, up 58%, and imports reached US$5.5 billion, up 19% compared to June 2021. In August, exports reached US$8.8 billion, imports reached US$6.7 billion, increasing by more than 22% compared to the previous month.

Expectations for a breakthrough in the fourth quarter

Thanks to the growth momentum in the last 15 days of the month, for the whole of August, import-export turnover reached US$54.57 billion, down only 4.2% compared to the previous month. Of which, exports reached US$27.23 billion, down 2.3% compared to the previous month (equivalent to US$636 million); imports reached US$27.34 billion, down 6.1% (equivalent to US$1.77 billion).

Accumulated to the end of August, Vietnam's import and export scale reached US$429.68 billion, up 27.5% over the same period last year, equivalent to an increase of US$92.62 billion. Of which, exports reached US$213.52 billion, up 21.8% and imports reached US$216.15 billion, up 33.7%.

Thus, on average in the first eight months of the year, each month's import-export turnover reached nearly US$54 billion. It can be seen that although the Covid-19 pandemic is still complicated, the turnover achieved in August is still higher than the average in the first months of the year.

Notably, although some groups were greatly affected in August, in the first eight months of the year, six key export commodity groups (turnover of US$10 billion or more) had impressive growth.

Specifically, phones and components reached US$35.33 billion, up 11.9% over the same period in 2020; computers, electronic products and components reached US$31.8 billion, up 14.8%; machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts reached US$23.15 billion, up sharply by 50.6%; textile and garment reached US$21.11 billion, up 9.4%; footwear of all kinds reached US$12.63 billion, up 16.1%; wood and wood products reached US$10.39 billion in this group, up 41.4%.

Another positive signal is that the trade balance is improving in August when Vietnam had a trade deficit of only US$109 million, while in July 2021 there was a trade deficit of US$1.25 billion. By the end of August, Vietnam had a trade deficit of US$2.63 billion.

With the pandemic being gradually controlled in many localities, the social distancing measures were eased from mid-September, along with the great efforts of the business community and workers, import and export activities in the fourth quarter of 2021 will have a significant increase. Because in addition to the disease factor, the fourth quarter is also the time when there is a big shopping period of the year, such as Christmas and New Year, so it is often the time to achieve the largest export turnover in the whole year.

If maintaining the average level of US$54 billion/month as in the past eight months, in 2021, the scale of import and export turnover of Vietnam will reach nearly US$650 billion.

By Thai Binh/ Phuong Thao