The country’s trade deficit widened to $4.927 billion in March from $4.585 billion a year ago as exports continued to decline, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.
The March trade deficit was also higher than the $3.90-billion shortfall in February. This brought the total deficit in the first quarter to $14.57 billion, higher than $13.08 in the same period last year.
Merchandise exports fell 9.1 percent in March to $6.53 billion, following an 18.1-percent decline in February.
Total export earnings in the first three months reached $16.86 billion, down by 13.2 percent from $19.43 billion a year earlier.
Electronic products remained the country’s top export in March with total earnings of $3.49 billion or 53.4 percent of the total. This was followed by other mineral products with an export value of $385.35 million (5.9 percent); and other manufactured goods, which amounted to $351.17 million (5.4 percent).
Meanwhile, merchandise imports also dropped 2.7 percent in March to $11.46 billion, slower than the 11.8-percent decrease in February.
Total imports in the first quarter went down by 3.3 percent to $31.44 billion from $32.51 billion in the same period in 2022. Julito G. Rada