HANOI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Vietnam's trade surplus rose to $777 million in January, the customs department said in a report, or nearly four times an initial government estimate of $200 million.
Exports last month jumped about 55 percent from January 2012 to $11.472 billion and imports rose roughly 54 percent to $10.695 billion, the department, run by the Finance Ministry, said in its January report, seen by Reuters on Monday.
Last month the government's General Statistics Office estimated Vietnam's trade balance for January at a surplus of $200 million, shrinking from a monthly surplus of $498 million in December 2012.
The customs department said Vietnam, the world's largest robusta coffee producer, exported nearly 219,000 tonnes (3.65 million 60-kg bags) of beans last month, a surge of nearly 86 percent from a year ago, exceeding initial estimates by traders and the government.
Early last month traders projected January's coffee exports at 130,000 to 180,000 tonnes, while the government estimated shipments at 200,000 tonnes..
Vietnam's coffee markets reopened on Monday after a long holiday to mark the lunar new year.
(Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) Keywords: VIETNAM ECONOMY/SURPLUS
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