Philippines: Merchandise trade deficit stable in August despite stronger export growth
October 10, 2018
Merchandise exports grew 3.1% in annual terms in August, accelerating from July’s 0.3% print. Six of the top ten commodity categories experienced growth, with exports of cathodes and sections of cathodes of refined copper; fresh bananas; and other mineral products posting the strongest expansions. However, this was partly offset by a contraction in exports of ignition and other wiring sets (which are used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships).
Growth in imports meanwhile softened but remained robust overall at 11.0% (July: +31.6% year-on-year). Despite the moderation, solid expansions were registered in the majority of the top ten commodity categories of the index, with imports of live animals and other foods being the only category to record a contraction.
Overall, the merchandise trade balance was steady in August at July’s USD 3.5 billion deficit, but was notably up from the USD 2.7 billion deficit logged in August 2017.
Philippines Trade Balance Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists foresee exports and imports growing 7.9% and 9.2% respectively in 2019, with the trade deficit widening to USD 39.2 billion. For 2020, the panel expects exports and imports to grow 7.7% and 6.7% respectively and the trade deficit to widen to USD 41.1 billion.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist