Oil Report

UPDATE 1-Vietnam says May trade gap $1.5 bln, widens from April

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HANOI, May 25 (Reuters) - Vietnam estimated on Monday that its trade deficit in May widened to $1.5 billion from $1.18 billion in April, while the January-May shortfall fell sharply from a year earlier.

The deficit in the first five months of the year is estimated to have fallen 91.7 percent from the same period of 2008 to $1.13 billion with the help of monthly surpluses recorded in January-March.

The government’s General Statistics Office said it estimated exports in January-May at $22.86 billion, down 6.8 percent from a year earlier and imports at $23.99 billion, a slump of 37 percent.

Vietnam had initially estimated the April deficit at $700 million, but on Monday the statistics office revised April exports down to $4.28 billion and notched up imports to $5.46 billion. [ID:nHAN413226]

It estimated May exports at $4.4 billion and imports at $5.9 billion.

Last year Vietnam reported a trade deficit of $13.55 billion in the first five months, according to government figures released on Monday.

Exports of textiles, the country’s top export item so far this year, totalled $3.24 billion in January-May, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier. Crude oil exports, traditionally Vietnam’s top earner, fell 44 percent in value terms to $2.57 billion over the period, reflecting a decline in world prices from mid-2008 peaks. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)