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Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports

The eastern-most nation on Southeast Asia’s Indochina Peninsula, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam shipped an estimated US$304.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects an 87.8% gain since 2015 and a 24.9% expansion from 2018 to 2019.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Vietnamese dong depreciated by -6.2% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -2% from 2018 to 2019. Vietnam’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.

From a continental perspective and based on finalized 2018 data, about 54% of Vietnam’s exported goods by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 22% were sold to importers in North America. Vietnam shipped another 18.4% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.9%), Oceania led by Australia (1.8%) and Africa (1%).

Given Vietnam’s population of 95.5 million people, its total $304.3 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $3,200 for every resident in the Southeast Asian nation.

 

Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Vietnamese global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Vietnam.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$126.9 billion (41.7% of total exports)
  2. Footwear: $24.7 billion (8.1%)
  3. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.9 billion (5.5%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $16.7 billion (5.5%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $16.1 billion (5.3%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $12.3 billion (4.1%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.8 billion (1.9%)
  8. Fish: $5.6 billion (1.8%)
  9. Leather/animal gut articles: $4.6 billion (1.5%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: $4.5 billion (1.5%)

Vietnam’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 66.3% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was footwear via a 47% gain. Vietnam’s shipments of electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 46.5%.

The leading decliner among Vietnam’s top 10 export categories was optical, technical and medical apparatus due to its-25.2% drop year over year.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, phone system devices including smartphones are Vietnam’s most valuable exported product coming in at 20.7% of the country’s total. In second place were integrated circuits or microassemblies (8.6%) trailed by textile footwear (3.9%), TV, radio or radar device parts (3%), leather footwear (2.4%), miscellaneous furniture (2.4%), insulated wire or cable (1.7%), printing machinery (1.5%), knitted or crocheted jerseys and pullovers (1.5%) then rubber or plastic footwear (also 1.5%).

In macroeconomic terms, Vietnam’s total exported goods represent 30.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($1 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 30.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 39.1% for 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Vietnam’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe. Please note that metrics in this article include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Vietnam’s average unemployment rate was 2.21% for 2019 same as one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.