By Chino S. Leyco
The balance of trade in goods of the Philippines posted a $3.25-billion deficit in October, up by four percent from $3.12 billion in September, but narrower compared with $4.42 billion in the same month last year.
In October, export shipments stood at $6.32 billion, a 0.1 percent improvement from September, while imports dropped by 11 percent to $9.57 billion.
The country’s total trade in the first 10 months to October, however, reached $15.9 billion, higher by six percent than $15 billion in the previous month owing to the slight improvement on exports.
“The modest recovery in the country’s trade figures for October 2019 backs the expectations that the export sector will remain relatively steady despite the global slowdown associated with the US-China trade war,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.
The country’s trade gap inched up in October as the marginal growth in exports was short to outpace strong value of imports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed yesterday.
“This also aligns well with the country’s overall GDP [gross domestic product] growth target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent for 2019,” he added.
Trade exports benefited from the uptick in earnings from agro-based products, mainly fruits and vegetables; manufactured articles aided in drawing back the previous month’s decline to register a 0.1-percent gain in October 2019.
On the other hand, imports decelerated on reduced orders for raw materials and intermediate goods, capital goods, mineral fuels, and consumer goods weakened overall growth of imports.
“Possible downside risks, particularly the lingering vulnerabilities and spillovers associated with the trade tensions, need to be managed,” Pernia said.
To counter external risks, Pernia underscored the country’s need to improve competitiveness through the institutionalization of policies and processes that will streamline, facilitate and bring down the cost of doing business.