Exports grow significantly in first quarter


VCN – At the end of first Quarter in 2021, exports of goods recorded a remarkable growth compared to many countries in the region with 11 items reaching turnover of over US$1 billion. However, it is forecasted that commodity exports will continue to face many difficulties when the supply chain is interrupted, input costs such as logistics, imported raw materials increase.

exports grow significantly in first quarter
The high import logistics costs have a direct impact on the export performance of the business. Photo: N. Linh

Trade surplus is US$2.03 billion

According to the latest information from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, for the first quarter, the export turnover is estimated at US$77.34 billion, up 22% over the same period last year. The balance of trade in goods in March was estimated to have an export surplus of US$400 million and US$2.03 billion in Q1. Of which, the domestic economic sector saw a trade deficit of US$6.75 billion, the foreign invested sector (including crude oil) saw an export surplus of US$8.78 billion.

In general, the proportion of exports of some key products still belongs to the FDI sector and the group of industries with foreign-invested enterprises. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 11 items with export value of over US$1 billion, accounting for 76.6% of total export value. Of which, phones and components with the largest export value reached US$14.1 billion, up 9.3% over the same period last year.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that, although affected by the 3rd wave of Covid-19, the 22% export growth in first quarter was relatively high compared to other economies in Asia. Specifically, in the first two months of 2021, Indonesia’s export turnover only increased by 8.56%; Singapore increased by 1.1%; South Korea increased by 10.5%; Japan increased 9% and Thailand decreased 1.16%.

“In the first quarter, Vietnam continued to have a trade surplus of US$2.03 billion, thereby positively supporting the current and overall payment balance of the economy. In recent years, the achievements of commercial activities have shown the efforts and determination of the Government and ministries, departments and branches in disease prevention in parallel with promoting production activities,” the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

Import-export activities are expected to continue to flourish thanks to the recovery of the world economy, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are fully and comprehensively implemented, attracting more FDI flows, especially in the hi-tech sector, achieved positive results.

“Taking advantage from FTAs will be one of the important factors promoting exports. Also, global demand is improving as the world economy is entering a recovery phase thanks to the strong rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations and the support from loosening fiscal policies. Therefore, it helps to increase opportunities to promote export of goods,” said Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of Import and Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade).

Concerned about rising costs of logistics and raw materials

In addition to the favorable factors promoting the export of goods, some economists said that the export of Vietnamese goods will still face many difficulties and challenges when the Covid-19 pandemic remains complicated despite many countries pushing the implementation of a preventive vaccination program. In Europe, many major regional economies such as Germany, France and Italy are extending lockdowns. The Covid-19 pandemic may make the transportation of goods difficult, many supply chains are interrupted, affecting the export of goods of Vietnam to partner countries.

Meanwhile, the increase in input costs such as logistics and imported raw materials also affects the production and export activities of enterprises. Recently, the shortage of empty containers and rising transportation costs have caused difficulties for many import-export enterprises. Many businesses are forced to relocate their export plans for old orders and cannot receive new orders because they cannot deliver according to the contract, hindering the production recovery.

Talking Customs News, Mr. Tran Thanh Hai said, looking at export activities – the driving force behind GDP growth in 2021, the results of export growth in the first quarter were more positive. However, looking at each specific industry there is a difference. Typically, the electronics, wooden furniture industries are benefiting from the market factors, but textiles and footwear are facing great difficulties.

Along with that, according to the leader of the Import and Export Department, the impact of a supply chain breakdown, emerging as logistics problems or geopolitical changes in the world, shows that current trade activities are still affected many factors of instability. “It is necessary to have timely support for industries and fields that are negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is necessary to actively build coping scenarios and seize opportunities from possible uncertainties on the business side. Improving adaptability is a core factor to the existence and development of businesses today,” said Mr. Tran Thanh Hai.

By Thanh Nguyen/Phuong Thao

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