Trade deficit surged 48% to $3.7-billion in May

The country’s trade-in-goods deficit in May widened by 48 percent to $3.7 billion from a $2.5-billion gap a year ago, after exports declined 3.8 percent while imports rose 11.4 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.

Data showed the May deficit was higher than the $3.48-billion gap a month ago, bringing the trade shortfall in the first five months to $15.76 billion, up 55 percent from $10.164 billion a year ago. 

Total exports fell from $5.99 billion in May last year to $5.76 billion, while imports increased to $9.46 billion from $8.49 billion in the same month of the previous year.

The country’s total external trade in goods in May reached $15.22 billion, up 5.1 percent from $14.48 billion year-on-year. 

“We continue to see higher imports particularly on capital goods... that is still double-digit. In fact, capital goods, raw materials, and intermediate products account for more than 80 percent of the imports. They are related to production and investments. It is a growing economy,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday.

The PSA said the 3.8-percent drop in exports was brought about by the decreases posted by three out of the top 10 commodities for the month, led by ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts, and ships (-40.8 percent); other mineral products (-29.5 percent); and electronic equipment and parts (-8.6 percent).

Total exports receipt recorded by the country’s top 10 market destinations for May amounted to $4.68 billion or 81.2 percent of the total outbound shipments. 

The US ranked first with an export value of $840.15 million or a share of 14.6 percent in May, an increase of 6.6 percent from $788.09 million in May last year.

The 11.4-percent growth in imports in May, meanwhile, was due to the positive growth of the nine out of the top 10 major import commodities. These were mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (41.6 percent); iron and steel (31.4 percent ); miscellaneous manufactured articles (26.9 percent); electronic products (16.1 percent); telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (14.8 percent); plastics in primary and non-primary forms (9.6 percent); metal products (8.6 percent); other food and live animals (7.8 percent); and industrial machinery and equipment (7.6 percent). 

The import bills from the top 10 countries in May amounted to $7.37 billion or 77.8 percent of the total inbound shipments. 

China was the country’s biggest source of imports with 20.3 percent share in May.  Import payments to the country stood at $1.92 billion, up 18.8 percent from $1.62 billion last year.

The trade deficit ballooned to $4.02 billion in December 2017, a record for any month, from $3.84 billion in November of the same year.

Topics: trade-in-goods , Philippine Statistics Authority , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , Diwa Guinigundo
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