Philippines: Merchandise export growth picks up slightly in July
September 10, 2019
Merchandise exports grew 3.5% in July, up from June’s 3.3% growth and carrying the sluggish recovery in export growth into the third quarter.
Stronger growth in July was largely due to robust growth in agricultural sales, particularly for bananas, while exports of machinery and transport, gold—which is experiencing strong safe-haven demand—and electronic equipment and parts also grew at strong rates in the month. That said, shipments of electronic products—which account for more than half of total export revenue—slowed in July (July: +2.9% year-on-year; June: +4.3% yoy) on weaker semiconductor exports. Meanwhile, declines in chemicals and metal component exports also weighed on overall export growth.
Imports, on the other hand, continued to contract at the outset of Q3, falling 4.2% year-on-year in July, although this was a much weaker decline than June’s 10.4% drop. The contraction was driven by plunging imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, and purchases of foreign fuels and lubricants. However, consumer goods imports rebounded in the month, while imports of capital goods logged tepid growth in July after falling in June.
Due to falling imports, the merchandise trade deficit narrowed to USD 3.4 billion in July from the USD 4.0 billion deficit recorded in the same month of the previous year, however was wider than June 2019’s USD 2.4 billion deficit.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist