Philippines: Merchandise exports decline in December
Merchandise exports declined 9.7% annually in December, contrasting November’s 13.2% upturn. December’s result marked the largest contraction since August 2020. Meanwhile, merchandise imports decreased 9.9% over the same month last year in December (November: -1.6% yoy), marking the weakest result since January 2021.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 4.6 billion shortfall in December (November 2022: USD 3.7 billion deficit; December 2021: USD 5.1 billion deficit). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 58.3 billion deficit in December, compared to the USD 58.8 billion deficit in November.
Analyst at the EIU commented on the outlook:
“The current-account deficit will remain wide by historical standards in 2023, at the equivalent of 4.4% of GDP […]. Following the lifting of international travel restrictions in China, we now expect services exports to grow more quickly in 2023-24, helping the services surplus to reach new highs in nominal terms from 2024. The secondary income account will gain further importance throughout our forecast period as a result of steadily rising remittance inflows. We forecast that the current-account deficit will narrow to 1.6% of GDP by 2027.”