The Philippines posted a current account deficit of $3.1 billion in the first six months, a significant increase from a shortfall of $133 million a year ago amid the widening trade deficit, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
The first-half current account deficit was equivalent to 1.9 percent of the gross domestic product. It also matched the target of $3.1-billion deficit earlier set by the Bangko Sentral for this year.
“This outcome was due to mainly to the widening trade deficit in the trade-in-goods account and lower net receipts in the primary income account, which more than offset the higher net receipts in the trade-in-services and secondary income accounts,” the Bangko Sentral said.
The trade-in-goods deficit for the first half went up by 27.9 percent to $23.3 billion as imports of goods expanded 10.7 percent while exports dropped 1.6 percent.
Exports of goods declined to $25.3 billion in the first six months of 2018 from $25.7 billion in the same period last year. Contributing largely to the decrease in exports were lower shipments of coconut products (22.9 percent) and fruits and vegetables (16.4 percent).
Imports of goods rose to $48.7 billion in the first six months from $44 billion in the same period in 2017. The 10.7-percent growth was attributed to higher imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, reflecting the robust expansion in domestic economic activity.
The 22.2-percent growth in imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, which totaled $18.5 billion in the first half, was due largely to the higher purchases of materials and accessories for the manufacture of non-consigned electronic products (133.8 percent) along with imports of manufactured goods (20.2 percent).
The balance of payments position in the first half yielded a deficit of $3.3 billion, or more than four times higher than the $706-million deficit recorded in the same period last year.
BoP summarizes the country’s economic transactions with the rest of the world.
The Bangko Sentral expects the BoP to post a deficit of $1.5 billion this year, higher than the actual deficit of $900 million in 2017.