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Philippines Trade May 2019

Philippines: Merchandise export growth stabilizes in May

Merchandise exports grew 1.0% in annual terms in May, matching April’s revised growth figure (previously reported: +0.4% year-on-year), gradually recovering from a very weak performance in the first quarter.

Marginal growth in merchandise exports came on the heels of stronger electronic products shipments (May: +6.2% yoy; April: +3.0% yoy)—which account for more than half of total export revenue—as semiconductor exports gathered pace. Exports of copper concentrates; ignition wiring sets used in vehicles, airplanes and ships; bananas; and chemicals also increased at strong rates in May. In contrast, a sharp decline in machinery and transport equipment weighted on the headline print.

Imports, on the other hand, declined for the second month running, falling at a sharper 5.4% year-on-year rate in May (April: -1.9% yoy). May’s drop came on the back of shrinking imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, while purchases of foreign fuels and lubricants also fell. Meanwhile, capital goods import growth was flat in the month, whereas consumer goods imports rose at a solid pace.

Overall, the merchandise trade deficit narrowed to USD 3.3 billion in May from the USD 3.8 billion deficit recorded in the same month a year prior (April: USD 3.5 billion).

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