The trade deficit ballooned to $3.93 billion in September and $29.9 billion in the first nine months after imports surged and exports fell from a year ago.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that merchandise imports jumped 26.1 percent to $9.75 billion in September from $7.77 billion in the same month last year, while exports tumbled 2.6 percent to $5.83 billion from $5.99 billion.
Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the growth in imports of capital goods indicated that firms were making long-term investments. “The import of raw materials and intermediate goods could also indicate the vibrancy of the manufacturing sector as it is expected to sustain its positive growth in the remaining months of the 2018,” Pernia said.
“Philippine import payments are seen to remain elevated until 2019, primarily due to imports of capital goods and raw materials to sustain the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure and manufacturing resurgence programs,” Pernia said.