PH trade deficit narrows in June

Published August 5, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The country’s trade deficit narrowed in June this year as coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on demand for exports and imports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

The Philippines’ trade gap, or the difference between the value of export and import, shrunk by half to $1.3 billion in June from $2.63 billion in the same month last year, the PSA data revealed yesterday.

 The slimmer deficit was due to lower sales from imports and exports, which both plunged by 24 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

 Total imported goods in June down to $6.63 billion from $8.78 billion in the same month in 2019, while total export sales declined to 5.33 billion from $6.15 billion in a previous year.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, however, noted that while import and export receipts remained lower compared with June 2019 data, the deceleration paces were slower compared with the previous month.

To recall, values of imports and exports in May this year fell by 41 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the country’s total merchandise trade further eased its negative trajectory in June with a slower decline of 19.9 percent following a steep 35.3 percent contraction in May.

 “This slower decline in the country’s trade performance signals the resumption of economic activities,” Chua said.

However, the recent issuance to revert Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal back to a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine status may, for a limited period, affect businesses and the workforce as certain sectors need to scale back or temporarily suspend operations.

 “The two-week MECQ will allow the government to reassess approaches, procedures, and response protocols and capacities that may need to be improved to better contain the spread of the virus while ensuring that the gains from reopening the economy are not fully reversed,” he said.

Chua also said that government efforts will continue to focus on realizing structural reforms and supporting needed legislations to ensure that businesses will be supported as the economy recovers.

 “NEDA has been working closely with relevant departments and both houses of Congress to prioritize reforms that will help the economy recover, promote competitive playing field, and allow firms to maximize productive capacity,” he added.