The country’s trade deficit fell 21.9 percent in November to $3.677 billion from $4.71 billion a year ago, as exports expanded by 13.2 percent while imports declined 1.9 percent, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.
This brought the 11-month trade deficit to $53.69 billion, higher than $37.113 billion in the same period in 2021. The balance of trade in goods deficit is the difference between the value of exports and imports.
Data showed that merchandise exports climbed to $7.1 billion in November from $6.273 billion a year earlier. This resulted in total exports of $73.169 billion in the 11-month period, up 7 percent from $68.374 billion a year ago.
The peso climbed Tuesday to a six-month high of 54.87 against the dollar following the release of the November foreign trade report. The peso fell to a record low of 59 against the greenback in November.
“[The] peso is also stronger today after the latest trade deficit, still among the narrowest in more than a year or since August 2021,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said.
Ricafort said the stronger peso against the US dollar could help reduce import costs and overall inflation.
The PSA said of the top 10 major commodity groups, five recorded annual increases in terms of the value of exports in November.
These were other mineral products (which grew 51.0 percent) such as nickel oxide sinters and other intermediate products of nickel metallurgy and nickel ores; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (23.1 percent); electronic products (22.9 percent); cathodes and sections of cathode, of refined copper (8.7 percent); and other manufactured goods (4.8 percent) such as blister copper and other unrefined copper and other cigarettes containing tobacco.
Electronic products remained the country’s top export in November with total earnings of $4.57 billion. This accounted for 64.3 percent of the total exports during the period. This was followed by other manufactured goods with an export value of $337.78 million (4.8 percent); and other mineral products, which amounted to $244.89 million (3.4 percent).
Imports fell in November to $10.78 billion from $10.98 billion a year ago. The total import value from January to November amounted to $126.86 billion, up 20.3 percent from $105.49 billion in the same period in 2021.
The PSA said the lower imported goods in November was mainly due to the decreases in the values of four of the top 10 major commodity groups, with electronic products having the fastest annual decline of -10.1 percent. This was followed by transport equipment, which dropped -8.8 percent annually; cereals and cereal preparations by -5.9 percent; and industrial machinery and equipment by -3.5 percent.
Ricafort said the slowdown in imports was due to the “lower global oil and other commodity prices imported by the country.”
“Importation also tapered after the seasonal increase in the third quarter to prepare for the seasonal increase in demand/sales in the fourth quarter during the holiday season towards the end of the year,” Ricafort said.