February 6, 2020 / 4:10 AM / 13 days ago

Vietnam-China Jan trade plummets on new year holiday, virus

HANOI (Reuters) - Trade between Vietnam and China fell sharply in January due to the week-long Lunar New Year holiday and coronavirus epidemic that has led to transport and supply chain disruptions

Vietnam relies heavily on China, its largest trading partner, for materials and equipment for its labour-intensive manufacturing.

Bilateral trade in January fell 25.8% from December and was down 11.8% from a year earlier, the Vietnamese government said in a statement.

“The main reason behind the sharp fall in Vietnam-China trade after Tet holidays was the impact of the coronavirus outbreak,” the government said.

The government said last week that cross-border trade between Vietnam and China was “not encouraged” and on Sunday announced it would ban all flights to and from China over coronavirus concerns.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 563 in China. Vietnam confirmed an additional two cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the health ministry said, bringing the total to 10.

The government said on Wednesday Vietnam’s gross domestic product growth in the first quarter of this year “will likely be one percentage point slower” than the 6.8% target.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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