PH trade gap narrows to $3.75B in Dec. 2018

MANILA – The country’s balance of trade in goods posted a narrower deficit in December 2018, given the drop in both exports and imports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released on Tuesday showed.

“The country’s balance of trade in goods decreased to a $3.75 billion deficit in December 2018, from $3.97 billion deficit in December 2017,” the PSA said in a statement.

Exports fell by 12.3 percent to $4.720 billion, while imports dropped 9.4 percent to $8.473 billion.

“The country’s total external trade in goods in December 2018 reached $13.19 billion, reflecting a decrement of 10.5 percent from the $14.74 billion in the same month of the previous year,” the PSA said.

“Of the total external trade, $4.72 billion or 35.8 percent were exported goods and $8.47 billion or 64.2 percent were imported goods,” it added.

PSA data showed the drop in exports was prompted by a decline in sales of machinery and transport equipment, coconut oil, electronic products, and other manufactured goods.

Imports fell due to negative growth in transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, mineral fuels, telecommunication equipment, other food and live animals, and electronic products.

“Merchandise trade in all the monitored Asian economies continued to weaken in the last month of 2018 as the region began to feel the impact of the weakening Chinese economy and the US-China trade tension,” said Socioeconomic Planning secretary Ernesto Pernia.

“Policy uncertainty remains a threat to global trade, investment, and output, especially as US-China trade tensions continue. To mitigate this impact, the national government should continue to work on legislative reforms that will open up sectors for foreign investment,” he added.

Pernia is pushing for the passage of laws covering Foreign Investment, Retail Trade, and Public Services.

“We should encourage foreign firms to transfer their manufacturing facilities in the Philippines and to take advantage of the growing domestic market,” he said. (GMA News)


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