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Huge imports by state sector dent Vietnam's trade balance
By Thanh Nien News -
 An undated photo showing workers working at a Vietnamese seafood factory. Photo: Quang Thuan
Vietnam's state-owned enterprises posted a trade deficit of US$13 billion in the first eight months, up 44 percent from the same period last year. 
Notably, the shortfall was 3.6 times higher than the country's trade deficit, the General Statistics Office of Vietnam recently reported. That means surpluses gained by other sectors failed to offset the deficit among SOEs.  
The state sector's exports fell 2.5 percent from the same period last year to $31.7 billion, while its imports went up 7.7 percent to $44.7 billion.
On the other hand, the foreign direct investment sector saw a trade surplus of $9.4 billion after exports and imports increased by 14.7 percent and 23.2 percent, respectively, according to the report.
Vietnam's exports increased by 9 percent year-on-year to $106.3 billion, while imports rose 16.4 percent to $109.9 billion.
With a year-on-year rise of 80.2 percent to $3.8 billion, automobiles were one of the imports that strongly increased in the January-August period, while mobile phones and their spare parts were up 36.6 percent to $7.1 billion.
Local production and consumption "hugely" relied on imported materials, the statistics office said in its latest report.
Vietnam is now under big pressure to control its trade deficit for the rest of the year, as export revenues have been falling due to sharp declines in crude oil prices, according to the office.
Moreover, the world demand is decreasing as an impact of China's economic situation, making it difficult for exports to rise, it added.
Previously many foreign and local reports forecast that Vietnam will see a trade deficit of $6 billion this year, after posting surpluses for three consecutive years since 2012.