Both exports and factory production fell at double-digit rates in June, although they improved from the steep decline observed in May at the height of the lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said exports dropped 13.3 percent in June to $5.3 billion from $6.1 billion a year ago, while imports sank 24.5 percent to $6.6 billion from $8.8 billion. In May, exports and imports declined by 26.9 percent and 40.6 percent, respectively.
Factory production, as measured by the volume of production index, dropped 19.3 percent in June, an improvement from the 28.5-percent contraction in May, data from the PSA showed.
“The country’s total external trade in goods in June 2020, which amounted to $11.97 billion, declined at an annual rate of 19.9 percent. This was lower than its previous month’s annual drop of 35.3 percent but faster than its rate of decrease in June 2019 of 2.9 percent,” the PSA said.
“This slower decline in the country’s trade performance signals the resumption of economic activities,” acting Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a statement.
The PSA said that in the first six months, exports dropped to $28.431 billion from $34.577 billion a year ago, while imports plunged to $39.033 billion from $55.001 billion.
Chua said the recent issuance to revert Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal back to a modified enhanced community quarantine status might, for a limited period, affect businesses and the workforce as certain sectors scaled back or temporarily suspended operations.
“The two-week MECQ will allow the government to reassess approaches, procedures and response protocols and capacities that may need to be improved to better contain the spread of the virus while ensuring that the gains from reopening the economy are not fully reversed,” he said.
Chua said government efforts should continue to focus on realizing structural reforms and supporting needed legislations to ensure that businesses would be supported as the economy recovered.
The PSA will release the second-quarter gross domestic product data on Thursday. The agency earlier revised the first-quarter GDP growth rate downward to -0.7 percent from the earlier estimate of -0.2 percent.
The PSA said it revised the GDP estimates based on an approved revision policy (PSA Board Resolution No.1, Series of 2017-053) which is consistent with international standard practices on national accounts revisions.