Vietnam Jan-Feb exports down 10% amid weak global demand

HANOI (Reuters): Exports from Vietnam, a regional manufacturing hub, fell 10% in the first two months of this year from a year earlier, as weakening global demand continues to bite into its shipments, government data showed on Thursday.

Exports in the January-February period fell to $49.64 billion, the Customs Department said in a report, dragged by a decline in shipments garments, footwear and electronics, for which it supplies major global brands.

The report showed imports in the two-month period fell 16.7% to $46.20 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $3.44 billion.

Garment exports for January-February fell 19.6% from a year earlier to $4.55 billion, while footwear shipments declined 16.0% to $2.76 billion.

Vietnam reported decade-high economic growth of 8% last year but economists have warned it faces challenges with weakening global demand.

Taiwan’s Pou Chen Corp, the world’s largest maker of branded sports footwear and a top supplier to Nike and Adidas, plans to cut around 6,000 jobs in Vietnam this year due to slower demand.

In February, Vietnam’s overall exports rose 10.3% from January to $26.05 billion, while imports were up 1.3% at $23.25 billion, Thursday’s report said.

Vietnam had a week-long Lunar New Year holiday in January, during which business activities slowed.