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Philippines Trade Balance November 2020

Philippines: Merchandise exports rebound growing at the fastest pace since January in November

Merchandise exports grew 3.0% in annual terms in November, swinging from October’s 1.2% contraction and marking the best reading in ten months. November’s upturn came largely on the back of rebounding electronic products shipments. Meanwhile, merchandise imports plunged 18.9% (October: -18.8% yoy), as lingering Covid-19 restrictions hampered domestic demand.

As a result, the merchandise trade balance recorded a USD 1.7 billion deficit in November, a narrower shortfall than the USD 3.7 billion deficit in the same month of 2019 and the USD 1.8 billion deficit in October. Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 22.6 billion shortfall in November, compared to the USD 24.5 billion deficit in October.

Commenting on the outlook for the external sector and the peso, Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING, said:

“The current trend of modest gains in exports coupled with weakness in imports will likely continue for at least the first half of the year with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases likely to sap momentum from the recent pickup in global trade, leading to softer export growth. […] With imports expected to remain well-below pre-pandemic levels and exports not expected to sustain their recent pickup in volume, we believe that the trade deficit should remain at manageable levels and that PHP should enjoy modest appreciation pressure in the first quarter if the global weak US dollar theme plays out.”

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