Philippines: Exports fell notably in December
Philippine exports contracted in November, after 12 months of expansions, mainly on the back of plummeting demand from Japan and a notable decrease in overseas orders to the United States and China, which more than offset stronger demand from Hong Kong and Singapore. Exports declined by an annual rate of 4.9%, which represented a notable downturn from November’s subdued 2.7% increase. December’s result reflected a sharp contraction in exports of agro-based products and a slight decline in exports of manufactured goods.
Exports of manufactured products dropped 1.1% in December compared to the same month of 2016, following a softer 0.1% decline recorded in November. Exports of electronic products, which are classified as a sub-category of manufactured goods and account for the largest share of total export revenues, rose 15.0% in December, slightly above November’s already strong 13.2% expansion. Lastly, exports of agro-based products plunged 61.7% in December, sharply down from November’s 7.3% contraction. In terms of specific products, the expansion in exports was strongly driven by robust increases in sales of cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper, gold and electronic equipment and parts.
In December, imports increased 17.6% year-on-year, below the already robust 20.1% expansion recorded in the previous month. The trade balance in December consequently deteriorated and recorded a USD 4.0 billion deficit, widening both from November’s USD 3.8 billion deficit and the USD 2.5 billion deficit recorded in December 2016.