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Philippines Trade Balance April 2021

Philippines: Merchandise exports hit record-high in April on supportive base effect

Merchandise exports soared 72.1% over the same month last year in April (March: +33.3% yoy). April’s result marked the strongest growth on record, although a supportive base effect came into play. The reading largely reflected skyrocketing growth of electronic product shipments, as well as surging exports of other manufactured and mineral goods.

Similarly, merchandise imports shot up 140.9% on an annual basis in April (March: +22.0% yoy), expanding at a record-breaking pace on the back of a favorable base effect. April’s upturn was largely attributed to soaring imports of transport equipment as well as industrial machinery and electronic products, highlighting the resilience of domestic activity.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 2.7 billion shortfall in April (March 2021: USD 2.8 billion deficit; April 2020: USD 0.2 billion deficit). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 26.7 billion deficit in April, compared to the USD 24.1 billion deficit in March.

Nicholas Mapa, senior economist, at ING said:

“We expect exports and imports to continue to expand sharply in the coming months as the economy reopens, although the trade balance will likely remain at manageable levels of roughly -$3.0 bn with capital-intensive imports not likely to pick up all that much given the still-subdued investment appetite.”

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