Trade deficit narrows in November amid weakness in imports, exports

Published January 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


The country’s trade deficit narrowed in November last year after both exports and imports contracted during the month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

Based on the PSA data, the balance of trade in goods of the country recorded a $3.34 billion deficit last November, lower by 18 percent compared with $4.07 billion in the same month in the previous year.

Exports fell by 0.7 percent to $5.6 billion during the month from $5.64 billion, while imports declined by 8 percent to $8.94 billion from P9.71 billion a year before.

Exports declined due to lower shipments of agro-based products, petroleum products, and the flat growth in manufactures. Imports also decreased because of lower inward shipments for unprocessed and semi-processed raw materials, including manufactured goods.

Japan remained the Philippines’ largest market for exports, followed by the United States, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

On the other hand, China was as the top import source of the Philippines followed by Japan, the United States, Thailand and Korea.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, meanwhile, said diversifying and managing the use of energy sources in the Philippines should be further strengthened to avoid potential supply shocks amid a slow recovery of global trade.

Pernia noted the continued decline of total merchandise trade, which fell by 5.3 percent in November.

“Global trade growth is poised to a slow recovery despite the easing of trade tensions between China and the US,” Pernia said.

“The heightened conflict between the US and Iran and its impact on oil prices could result in increased cost of production for domestic-oriented as well as export-oriented firms,” he added.

The Philippines still imports majority of its petroleum supply from the Middle East region, particularly Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. This is despite indications that the country’s trade exposure to the leading trading partners in the Middle East are small relative to the country’s total trade.