The Philippine trade deficit continued to narrow in July as export sales increased while imports declined during the period.
The government released on Tuesday that the Philippine trade deficit continued to narrow in July as export sales increased while imports declined.
Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the balance of trade in goods narrowed to 3.39 billion United States (US) dollars in July.
This is 15.5 percent lower than the 4.02-billion dollars deficit recorded the same month of 2018.
A deficit indicates that the value of a country’s imports exceeded the export receipts, while a surplus indicates more export shipments than imports.
In terms of exports, the Philippines reported a 3.5 percent increase to 6.17 billion dollars versus the 5.97 billion dollars the same month last year.
“This was due to the increases in export sales of eight of the top 10 major export commodities,” the PSA said.
This includes gold (up 81.8 percent), fresh bananas (34.6 percent), machinery and transport equipment (23.9 percent), and electronic equipment and parts (18.9 percent).
Increases were also registered in ignition wiring sets and other wiring sets (17.6 percent), other mineral products (7.9 percent), other manufactured products (5.7 percent), and electronic products (2.9 percent).
“Philippine exports remained resilient during the second quarter of 2019 despite the continuing external challenges such as trade tensions between the US and China, the bleak outlook in Europe, and the uncertainty of the future of Brexit,” Socioeconomic Planning secretary Ernesto Pernia said in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, imports dropped by 4.2 percent to 9.57 billion dollars from 9.98 billion dollars in July 2018.
“The decrease was due to the decrements in nine of the top 10 major import commodities,” said the PSA.
Declines were seen in iron and steel (-35.8 percent); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-14.5 percent); transport equipment (-12.0 percent); telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (-2.4 percent); and industrial machinery and equipment (-1.5 percent)
“The country’s manufacturing sector is expected to sustain its growth despite the overall decline in global manufacturing,” said Pernia.
“We are optimistic as we see a reduction of global oil prices, the recent cuts in electricity rates, and the lower import costs due to the appreciation of the peso,” he elaborated.
Looking ahead, Pernia said the Philippines needs to improve in terms of agriculture to be able to ship out more products from the country.
“As the country continues to pursue programs that will pave the way for the resurgence of the manufacturing sector, increasing the competitiveness of agricultural producers, particularly rice farmers, should continue to be prioritized,” he explained. (GMA News)