The Ministry of Planning and Investment expects the trade deficit in the first half of the year to be US$7.5 billion, despite optimism about exports.
In a report submitted to the Government this week, the ministry anticipated that the total export revenue in the first six months of the year would be $41.5 billion, up 27.8 per cent against the same period last year, and nearly three times higher than the 10 per cent increase targeted at the start of this year by the National Assembly.
Imports, meanwhile, are expected to reach $49 billion, up 26.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.
If the ministry's forecast proves accurate, the trade deficit in the first six months of this year will be equal to 18 per cent of the total export value. The NA at the start of the year set the trade deficit ceiling at 16 per cent of total export earnings.
The ministry warned in the report that the trade deficit was rising due to an increase in imports, and urged ministries and agencies to take bolder measures to control the trade gap.
Last month's trade deficit saw a year-on-year increase of 17.3 per cent to $1.7 billion, the highest level since January this year, according to the General Statistics Office.
In January-May, the country's main trade deficit was with Asian countries and territories that included mainland China ($5.4 billion), ASEAN ($3.2 billion), South Korea ($3.1 billion), Taiwan ($3.1 billion) and Thailand ($1.8 billion), the GSO reported.
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