The country’s trade deficit in November shrunk 18 percent to $3.34 billion from a gap of $4.07 billion a year ago, as exports and imports fell 0.7 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday.
Exports declined due to lower shipments of agro-based products, petroleum products and the flat growth in manufactured items, while imports decreased because of lower inward shipments of unprocessed and semi-processed raw materials, including manufactured goods.
The November data brought the trade deficit in the first 11 months to $34.59 billion, down significantly from the $39.36-billion gap a year ago.
The country’s total external trade in November amounted to $14.54 billion, down 5.3 percent from $15.35 billion in the same month of the previous year.
Of the total external trade, $5.60 billion (38.5 percent) were exported goods and $8.94 billion (61.5 percent) were imported goods.
The country’s export sales in November stood at $5.60 billion, down 0.7 percent from $5.64 billion in November 2018.
“This was due to the double-digit decrements in the export sales of three of the top 10 major export commodities, namely ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (-23.7 percent); machinery and transport equipment (-21.7 percent); and electronic equipment and parts (-20.5 percent),” the PSA said.
Total imported goods in November contracted 8 percent from $9.71 billion in November 2018 to $8.94 billion.
The reduction was due to the decrease of eight of the top 10 major import commodities. These were mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-34.9 percent); cereals and cereal preparations (-31.1 percent); iron and steel (-29.8 percent); electronic products (-5.8 percent); other food and live animals (-3.7 percent); plastics in primary and non-primary forms (-3.4 percent); industrial machinery and equipment (-3.2 percent); and transport equipment (-0.1 percent).
Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said diversifying and managing the use of energy sources in the Philippines should be further strengthened to avoid potential supply shocks amid a slow recovery of global trade.
“Global trade growth is poised to a slow recovery despite the easing of trade tensions between China and the US. The heightened conflict between the US and Iran and its impact on oil prices could result in increased cost of production for domestic-oriented as well as export-oriented firms,” said Pernia.