September import growth strongest in 4 months

- Rica Delfinado () - November 27, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s merchandise imports climbed 24.6 percent to $4.57 billion in September from a year earlier, marking the strongest growth in four months, the National Statistics Office reported Friday.

The September import growth was a reversal of the 25 percent contraction in the same month last year, and faster than the 23.1 percent annual growth in August.

Also compared to August’s import bill of $4.45 billion, September was higher by 2.7 percent.

Imports of electronic parts, which accounted for 35.7 percent of the total import bill in September, were up an annual 23.8 percent to $1.63 billion over last year’s figure of $1.32 billion. These are imports used by the semiconductor and electronics industry the country’s biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy.

The government expects imports to climb 20 percent this year and exports to increase 15 percent with estimated growth for both revised upwards earlier this year.

Merchandise exports climbed 46.1 percent in September from a year ago after a 37 percent jump in August.

Apart from electronic parts and fuel, the Philippines’ other top imports were electrical and industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron, steel and metal scraps.

Accounting for 35.7 percent of the total import bill, payments for electronic products in September amounted to $1.632 billion, up 33.8 percent over last year’s figure of $1.318 billion. On a monthly basis, it declined by 0.8 percent from $1.645 billion recorded in August 2010.

Among the major groups of electronic products, components/devices (semiconductors) having the biggest share of 28.7 percent, expanded by 38.8 percent to $1.314 billion from $969.33 million in September 2009.

Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials in September ranked second with 16.1 percent share and posted a positive growth of 6.9 percent to $734.66 million from $687.50 million in September 2009.

Transport equipment was the country’s third top imports for the month with 6.4 percent share to total imports at $294.66 million. The value improved by 33.2 percent from its previous year level of $217.51 million.

Industrial machinery and equipment, contributing 4.6 percent to the total import bill, was the fourth top import for the month with payments placed at $209.90 million, an increase of 65 percent from last year’s level of $127.22 million.

Fifth in rank and with 3.5 percent share to the total imports, metalliferous ores and metal scrap accelerated by 393.3 percent or $159.41 million, the highest annual growth rate among the top 10 imports from its year ago level of $32.31 million.

Organic and inorganic chemicals ranked sixth, comprising 2.4 percent of the total imports, recorded $110.78 million, higher by 25.9 percent from its year ago level of $88.02 million.

Rounding up the list of the top 10 imports for September were plastics in primary and non-primary forms worth $103.80 million; iron an steel, $88.07 million; telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, $78.56 million.

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