Vietnam's exports in the first five months of this year fell 11.6% from a year earlier to $136.17 billion, government data showed on Monday, as weakened external demand weighs on its manufacturing-led economy.

Its industrial output in the January-May period fell 2% from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in a report, adding that average consumer prices in the period rose 3.55% from a year earlier.

The latest data underlines a slowdown in economic growth for Vietnam, a key regional manufacturing centre, due largely to subdued global demand.

Imports in the first five months of this year fell 17.9% from a year earlier to $126.37 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $9.8 billion, the GSO said.

The sharp imports decline could indicate a further slowdown ahead in industrial production, as businesses reduce procurement of raw materials and equipment. Vietnam is key exporter of electronics, garments and textiles, footwear and wooden items, including for top global brands.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai earlier in May said the economy would face unfavourable external conditions during 2023.

Vietnam is targeting growth of 6.5% this year, slower than the expansion of 8.02% in 2022. Vietnam's GDP growth slowed to 3.3% in the first quarter from expansion of 5.9% in the fourth quarter of last year.

Oxford Economics on Monday said it had cut its forecast for Vietnam's 2023 GDP growth to 3.0% from 4.2%.

"We think that easing global growth, including a fading recovery momentum in China, mean that the depressing outlook for Vietnam's exports has further to run, casting clouds over the prospect of any rebound in GDP growth," it said in a note.

Exports in smartphones, Vietnam's largest export earner, fell 16% in the January-May period to $21.17 billion, the GSO said.

In May, its total exports fell 5.9% from a year earlier, while imports were down 18.4%, the GSO added. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty)