Higher exports narrow trade deficit in March

Published May 7, 2021, 5:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The country’s trade deficit narrowed in March this year as exports registered stronger growth, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Friday, May 7.

Based on the PSA preliminary report, the gap in the trade balance, or the difference between the value of export and import, went down by 11.5 percent to $2.41 billion in March from $2.72 billion in the same month last year.

The trade deficit is also lower compared with $2.71 billion in February.

MB File (Photo by Ali Vicoy)

During the month, sales from exports accelerated by 31 percent to $6.68 billion from $5.08 billion in the previous month.
All the top 10 major commodity groups in terms of value of exports recorded annual increases, led by other mineral products (195.8 percent), followed by chemicals (159.8 percent), and other manufactured goods (115.7 percent).

Electronic products continued to be the country’s top export with total earnings of $3.6 billion, accounting for 53.8 percent of the total. This was followed by other manufactured goods with $632.52 million and export of machinery and transport equipment with $270.45 million.

The People’s Republic of China is the leading buyer of Philippine goods in March with $1.07 billion receipts, or a share of 16 percent to the total exports during the month.

Completing the top five major export trading partners were United States with $992.93 million (14.9 percent), Japan with $984.18 million (14.7 percent), Hong Kong with $835.07 million (12.5 percent); and Singapore with $347.01 million (5.2 percent).

Meanwhile, total imported goods in March reached $9.1 billion, up by 16 percent from $7.8 billion in the same month last year.

The increase of inbound shipments was seen after eight of the top 10 major commodity groups registered positive growth, led by other food and live animals (30.9 percent), telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (28 percent), and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (21.4 percent).

Most of the imported goods were electronic products with an import value of $2.5 billion or a share of 27.5 percent to the total. This was followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, valued at $1.01 billion and transport equipment at $643.85 million.

China was also the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods valued $2.13 billion or 23.4 percent of the total.

Completing the top five major import trading partners were Japan with $887.15 million, Republic of Korea with $663.24 million, Indonesia with 656.64 million and United States with $618.01 million.

At end-March, the country registered a trade deficit of $8 billion, lower by 5.3 percent compared with $8.45 billion in the same period last year.

Total imports in the first quarter valued at $25.56 billion, while export receipts reached $17.55 billion.