Trade deficit narrows to $3.5 B in April
This development narrowed the trade deficit to $3.5 billion during the month.
Edd Gumban

Trade deficit narrows to $3.5 B in April

Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s trade position improved in April as exports went up marginally while imports declined, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said yesterday.

This development narrowed the trade deficit to $3.5 billion during the month.

Total external trade in goods in April amounted to $14.51 billion, down by one percent from $14.66 billion in the same month the previous year. Out of the total, 37.9 percent were exported goods and 62.1 percent were imported goods. 

Export earnings rose by 0.4 percent to $5.51 billion in April from $5.48 billion a year ago due to increases in seven of the top 10 major export commodities: fresh bananas, gold, machinery and transport equipment, coconut oil, ignition wiring sets, manufactured goods and electronic products.

Electronic products remained the country’s top export with total earnings of $3.12 billion, or 56.7 percent of total revenues from outbound shipments in April 2019.

Imports, meanwhile, declined by 1.9 percent to $9.01 billion in April from $9.18 billion last year on account of the diminished inbound shipments of transport equipment, plastics, iron and steel, industrial machinery and equipment, and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery.

Among the imported commodities, the bill was highest for electronic products valued at $2.36 billion, accounting for 26.2 percent of total imports.

By major types of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, which comprised 36.8 percent of total imports contracted by 16.3 percent to $3.31 billion from $3.96 billion in April 2018.

Minimal gains, meanwhile, were seen in imports of capital goods and consumer goods year-on-year in April.

The country exported the most to the US with outbound shipments valued at $906.98 million, comprising 16.5 percent of total exports in April 2019. Exports to this country expanded by 10.6 percent from $819.91 million in April 2018.

Other major export trading partners in April were China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Most of the country’s imports, meanwhile, came form China which had a 23.9 percent share to total imports in April 2019. Import payments from this country reached $2.15 billion, up from $1.83 billion in April 2018.

Other major sources of imports during the period were Japan, Korea, US and Singapore.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said exports will be given a boost through productivity reforms and continued increase in market access for Philippines products.

The agency is also pushing for the passage of amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investment Act, Retail Trade Act, as well as the TRABAHO bill which will streamline the grant of fiscal incentives.

“With the passage of these reforms, we can leverage the Philippines’ attractiveness to both foreign and local investors. These investments can help our industry to improve production efficiency and product diversification,” said Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

He said there is also a need for game-changing actions in selected domestic regulations, such as streamlining the issuance of the Food and Drug Administration’s license to operate and certificate of product registration.

Other focus areas include the full implementation of the long-overdue National Single Window/TradeNet System, as well as the issuance of the joint administrative order to improve the efficiency in the movement of cargoes and to regulate international shipping costs.

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