Philippines: Merchandise exports rebound slightly in April
Merchandise exports grew 0.4% over the same month a year prior in April, rebounding from the revised 1.8% contraction logged in March (previously reported: -2.5% year-on-year) and ending four consecutive months of contractions.
The slight improvement in merchandise exports was due to a recovery in electronic products shipments (April: +3.0% yoy; March: -3.7% yoy)—which account for more than half of total export revenue. This was due to a rebound in semiconductor exports. Meanwhile, machinery and transport equipment; other manufactured goods; and bananas exports also picked up in the month.
Imports, on the other hand, fell 1.9% in April, contrasting March’s 7.8% increase. The downturn was largely driven by a sharp fall in imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, and a slowdown in consumer goods imports. Meanwhile, capital goods import growth came in flat in the month. April’s decline likely reflects stalled government public works projects due to the delayed passage of the 2019 budget.
Overall, the merchandise trade deficit narrowed to USD 3.5 billion in April from a USD 3.7 billion deficit in April 2018 (March: USD 3.1 billion).