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Supply Chain

Vietnamese factories go idle as orders from the West slow

In run-up to holiday, demand drops for Asian exports from smartphones to sweaters

A garment factory in Vietnam. Slow demand in the West is bad news for the country's export-oriented businesses. (File photo by Rie Ishii)

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Now is usually the period when Phan Ngoc Anh gets some early holiday cheer as her sector, Vietnam's garment industry, fields shiploads of U.S. and European orders ahead of Christmas. But not this year.

Perennial demand before the year-end shopping season is drying up, with slowdowns in Western economies rippling across the Pacific to economies like Vietnam, a top source of clothes, electronics and other popular holiday gifts.

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