By CHINO S. LEYCO
The country’s trade deficit narrowed in December last year after exports increased by double-digits while imports weakened during the month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.
Data from the PSA showed that the Philippines’ balance of trade in goods in December incurred a $2.48 billion deficit, but the amount was lower by 40.6 percent compared with the $4.17 billion gap in the same month in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the country’s total external trade in goods, which is the sum of the value of import and export receipts, amounted to $13.96 billion in December, up 2.4 percent year-on-year from $13.63 billion.
In December, total exports amounted to $5.74 billion, higher by 21.4 percent from the $4.73 billion year ago. The growth was after sales of nine of the 10 major commodities being sold abroad by the country improved.
Increases were seen in cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (471 percent); fresh bananas (35 percent); gold (30 percent); electronic products (25 percent); chemicals (18 percent); as well as machinery and transport equipment (12.6 percent).
Higher sales were also reported in other manufactured goods (10 percent); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (3.5 percent); and coconut oil (1.1 percent).
By commodity group, exports of electronic products continued to be the country’s top export with total earnings of $3.44 billion, or 59.9 percent of the total. It also grew by 25 percent from $2.75 billion a year ago.
The US remained the Philippines’ top buyer of its goods valued at $902.25 million, followed by Hong Kong with $884.98 million, China with 835.15 million, Japan with $803.14 million, and Singapore with $336.95 million.
On the other hand, total imported goods in December contracted by 7.6 percent to $8.22 billion from $8.9 billion in the same month in 2018 due to the decrements of seven of the top 10 major import commodities.
Lower imports were seen in steel (-38 percent), cereals and cereal preparations (-31 percent), industrial machinery and equipment (-22 percent), plastics in primary and non-primary forms (-21 percent); other food and live animals (-11 percent); electronic products (-7 percent); and transport equipment (-1 percent).