April trade deficit down to $3.5b after decline in imports — PSA

The country’s balance of trade-in-goods deficit in April declined to $3.50 billion from a $3.70-billion gap a year ago, as imports fell 1.9 percent, the first time in four months, while exports increased 0.4 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.

The country’s total external trade in goods in April amounted to $14.51 billion, reflecting a decrease of 1 percent from $14.66 billion in the same month of the previous year. 

Of the total external trade, $5.51 billion or 37.9 percent were exported goods and $9.01 billion or 62.1 percent were imported goods.

The numbers put the trade gap in the first four months to $13.363 billion, still higher than $11.802 billion posted in the same period in 2019.  

“Going forward, prospects for a still substantial trade gap remain although given the outlook for both exports and imports, we do expect the deficits to be less pronounced than in 2018,” ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said in a comment.

“Exports will likely struggle given the expectations for weak demand for electronics while imports will likely no longer exhibit back-to-back double-digit growth prints we’ve been accustomed to as capital good importation normalizes,” he said.

Total export sales in April stood at $5.51 billion, indicating a slight increase of 0.4 percent from the $5.48 billion on year to the higher export sales of the seven of the top 10 major export commodities.

These were fresh bananas (76.7 percent); gold (36.1 percent); machinery and transport equipment (28.5 percent); coconut oil (18.1 percent); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (14.5 percent); other manufactured goods (4.0 percent) and electronic products (3.0 percent). 

By commodity group, electronic products remain the country’s top export with total earnings of $3.12 billion. The amount, which accounted for 56.7 percent of the total exports’ revenue in April, rose 3 percent from $3.03 billion a year ago. Julito G. Rada

Topics: trade deficit , imports , Philippine Statistics Authority , PSA
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