• April 14, 2024
Vietnam Trade Update: Key Highlights for Jan-Sep 2023
Understanding a country’s economic health often begins with analyzing its trade statistics. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into Vietnam’s trade performance for the first half of 2023. We’ll simplify the complex data to make it more accessible and easier to grasp.
July 2023: A Positive Turn
In July 2023, Vietnam experienced a promising increase in its total external merchandise turnover. This figure grew by 2.3% compared to the previous month, according to Vietnam Customs. In simple terms, Vietnam sold more goods to other countries in July than it did in June.
  • Exports: The products leaving Vietnam saw a 2.1% boost, reaching a substantial $30.07 billion.
  • Imports: The products coming into Vietnam also increased by 2.4%, totaling $27.0 billion when measured month-to-month.
  • These numbers resulted in a noteworthy trade surplus of $3.07 billion for July.
Year-to-Date Picture: A Mix of Challenges and Success
Zooming out to look at the broader picture, the data for the first seven months of 2023 reveals a more complex scenario. Vietnam’s total trade in goods amounted to $374.36 billion. However, this marked a 13.8% decrease compared to the previous year. This drop can be attributed to:
  • A 10.3% decrease in the total value of merchandise exports, which amounted to $195.42 billion.
  • A significant 17.4% decrease in the total value of merchandise imports, totaling $178.94 billion.

Despite these challenges, Vietnam managed to maintain a trade surplus of $16.48 billion during this period.

The Role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a significant role in Vietnam’s trade landscape. In July 2023, FDI traders contributed to a trade surplus of $5.59 billion. However, when we look at the year-to-date picture, we see a 13.8% decrease in trade by FDI traders. FDI exports decreased by 10.4%, and FDI imports decreased by 17.8%. Nevertheless, FDI maintains a trade surplus of $27.50 billion for the year so far.
Product Highlights
So, what’s driving these trade trends? It all boils down to the types of products being traded:
  • In July, the increase in total merchandise exports from June 2023 to July 2023 can be attributed to the growth in product categories like telephones, mobile phones, and their parts (up by $441 million), machinery, equipment, tools, and instruments (up by $324 million), textiles and garments (up by $208 million), and rubber (up by $49 million).
  • However, compared to the previous year, exports saw a significant drop of $22.50 billion. Key products contributing to this decline included telephones, textiles, wood products, footwear, machinery, fishery products, computers, iron, and steel, and plastic products.
Top Commodities
The top four commodity groups for Vietnam in the first seven months of 2023 were:
  1. Telephones, mobile phones, and parts thereof.
  2. Computers, electrical products, spare parts, and components.
  3. Machinery, equipment, tools, and instruments.
  4. Textiles and garments.
Trading Partners
Vietnam engages in trade with partners worldwide. In 2023, trade with Asian partners decreased by 13.5%, while trade with the Americas decreased by 18.7%. Europe also saw a decrease of 7.4%, while Oceania decreased by 15.2%. However, trade with Africa saw a positive upswing, increasing by 4.8% compared to the same period in 2022.
Top Export and Import Partners
Vietnam’s top export markets for the first seven months of 2023 were the United States of America, China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. On the import side, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Taiwan were the leading countries exporting goods to Vietnam.
In summary, Vietnam’s trade performance in 2023 has been marked by both positive and challenging aspects. Keeping an eye on these trends can provide valuable insights into Vietnam’s economic well-being and its position in the global market.

Stay informed about the how Vietnam outshine Thailand in rice exports here.

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