Freeman Cebu Business

Imports rise in September

C&C VIEWS - Ed F. Limtingco - The Freeman

According to the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis, Inc. (IDEA) NewsBriefs, a regular publication produced by IDEA, Inc., receipts for imported goods increased by 7.2 percent to USD5.711 billion in September compared to the USD5.327 billion recorded in the same period last year. It was also 3.0 percent higher than the USD5.546 billion recorded last month. This brings the aggregate imports from January to September to USD46.359 billion which was 0.03 percent higher than the levels in comparative periods.

Much of the year-on-year increase was driven by annual growth in five major commodities. Specifically, imports on electronic products rose by 29.8 percent to USD1.764 billion; imports of transport equipment also climbed by 135.6 percent to USD691.96 million; imports on industrial machinery and equipment increased by 2.0 percent to USD264.03 million; and lastly, imports on other food and live animals totalled USD159.99 million, posting a 13.3 percent increase from its levels last year. The United States was the biggest source of imports for the country, accounting for 11.8 percent of the import billion. The People’s Republic of China follows the list, accounting for 11.5 percent of the country’s imports. Taiwan, Japan and Singapore complete the top five sources of imports, according to IDEA.

Per same published report, data from the Department of Finance showed that sin tax collections from January to September amounted to PhP63.6 billion, higher by 63.92 percent from PhP38.8 billion recorded in the same period last year. This comprises 74 percent of the total projected excise tax collections for the year. Broken down, PhP40.2 billion of revenues came from tobacco products, up 83.9 percent on a yearly basis. Collections from alcohol products also increase by 38.23 percent on a yearly basis, amounting to PhP23.4 billion.

Likewise, the country’s gross domestic product increased by 7 percent in the third quarter, showing a loss of momentum from the 7.7-percent and 7.6-percent growth in the first and second quarter, respectively. This brings growth to 7.4 percent, above the government’s 6- to-7 percent target. The growth was driven by the expansion of the service and industry sectors on the supply side and government consumption on the demand side. Despite the growth, government officials believe that growth greater than 7 percent for the fourth quarter seems unlikely due to the recent disasters.

Furthermore, the BSP expects inflation to settle within a 2- to 4-percent range until 2016. While the BSP has not yet confirmed these figures, it will release the official figures soon, as decided by the executive technical board. Other economists, however, cast doubts on the BSP’s projection. According to Emilio Neri, the 2- to 4- percent range is too low for a developing economy and should be set at higher levels.

Lastly, it was also reported that the BSP sees a likely increase in remittances for November and December, as overseas Filipino workers send support for their families and relatives. According to the BSP, remittances normally increase during Christmas time and midyear enrolment season. In addition to this however, reports that the families who were displaced by super typhoon Yolanda have members who are working abroad raises the likelihood of an increase in remittances. The BSP forecasts remittances to be at USD21.391 billion, posting a 5 percent annual growth.

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