Philippines: Merchandise exports gain steam in January
Merchandise exports climbed 8.9% over the same month last year in January (December: +7.3% year-on-year). Meanwhile, merchandise imports climbed 27.5% over the same month last year in January (December: +39.1% yoy).
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 4.7 billion shortfall in January (December 2020: USD 5.3 billion deficit; January 2021: USD 2.9 billion deficit). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 45.0 billion deficit in January, compared to the USD 43.2 billion deficit in December.
ING’s Nicholas Mapa sees this month’s narrowing of the trade deficit as likely to reverse in the near future:
“Currently, the trade deficit […] is already well above the pre-Covid average […]. In the coming months, we expect the trade gap to yawn further [wide] especially with the oil import bill forecast to bloat due to expensive crude. The fuel import bill could swell from USD 1.4 billion to USD 2.1 billion due to pricier global crude, causing the overall trade deficit to deteriorate further.”