The country’s trade deficit ballooned 66 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $13.891 billion from a $8.344-billion gap a year ago, as imports outpaced exports during the period, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show on Friday.
Total imports in the first quarter jumped 28 percent to $33.309 billion from $26.021 billion, while exports rose 9.8 percent to $19.417 billion from $17.677 billion.
The trade deficit in March widened to $5.003 billion from $2.759 billion a year ago. Imports reached $12.174 billion from $9.532 billion a year ago, while exports stood at $7.17 billion from $6.773 billion a year ago.
By commodity group, electronic products continued to be the country’s top export in March with total earnings of $3.96 billion. The amount accounted for 55.3 percent of the total exports during the period. They were followed by other mineral products with an export value of $410.86 million (5.7 percent); and other manufactured goods which amounted to $ 375.68 million (5.2 percent).
By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods shared the biggest to the total exports in March 2022 amounting to $5.66 billion (79.0 percent). They were followed by mineral products with a share of $799.60 million (11.2 percent); and total agro-based products which contributed $571.12 million (8.0 percent).
By major trading partner, exports to China comprised the highest export value amounting to $1.18 billion, or a share of 16.5 percent to the total exports during the month.
Completing the top five major export trading partners with their export values and their share to the total exports were the United States, $1.09 billion (15.2 percent); Japan, $1.04 billion (14.5 percent); Hong Kong, $921.27 million (12.8 percent); and Singapore, $423.67 million (5.9 percent).
Meanwhile, most of the imported goods were electronic products with an import value of $2.76 billion or a share of 22.6 percent to the total imports in March. They were followed by mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials, valued at $2.58 billion (21.2 percent); and transport equipment which amounted to $849.74 million (7.0 percent).
By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share to the total imports amounting to $4.54 billion (37.3 percent) in March 2022. Imports of capital goods ranked second with a share of $3.27 billion (26.9 percent), followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with $2.58 billion (21.2 percent).
China was the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods valued at $2.13 billion or 17.5 percent of the total imports in March. It was followed by Japan, $1.24 billion (10.2 percent); Republic of Korea, $1.20 billion (9.8 percent); Indonesia, $1.04 billion (8.5 percent); and USA, $869.84 million (7.1 percent).
The trade deficit last year hit $43.134 billion, up $18.5 billion from the $24.6-billion shortfall a year ago. The 2021 deficit was near the record $43.5-billion gap recorded in 2018.