Faster export growth narrows trade gap in January
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s trade deficit narrowed by 10.7 percent in January to $3.50 billion as the growth of exports significantly outpaced the growth in imports, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

The PSA said external trade in goods reached $15.08 billion, a 4.1 percent increase from $14.48 billion in the same month last year. Exports made up 38.4 percent of total while imports comprised 61.6 percent.

This brought the country’s balance of trade in goods to a $3.50 billion deficit, narrower than the $3.92 billion deficit in January 2019.

Export sales rose by 9.7 percent to $5.79 billion in January 2020 from $5.28 billion in the same period in 2019. This was attributed to the steep increases in the outbound shipment of seven of the top 10 major export commodities: mineral products, gold, electronic products, cathodes and refined copper, other manufactured goods, ignition wiring sets, and chemicals.

Export of electronic products, which accounted for 55.9 percent of total exports in January, expanded by 15.8 percent to $3.23 billion from $2.79 billion in the comparative period last year.

By major type of goods, outbound shipments of manufactured goods, which accounted for 81.3 percent of the total exports, rose by 7.5 percent to $4.70 billion in January from $4.37 billion last year.

Imports likewise grew but at a slower pace of one percent in January to $9.29 billion from $9.20 billion. This was attributed to increased inbound shipments of seven of the top major import commodities: mineral fuels, miscellaneous manufactured articles, other food and live animals, iron and steel, transport equipment, industrial machinery and equipment, and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery.

Import of raw materials and intermediate goods used for production, which made up 37.8 percent of the total import value, fell by 3.7 percent to $3.51 billion in January 2020 from $3.65 billion in January 2019.

Among the country’s major trading partners, the US was the top destination of exports valued at $941.73 million in January. Other major export trading partners were Japan, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

China, meanwhile, was the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods, with import payments for goods totalling $2.37 billion or 25.5 percent of total.

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