Philippines: Merchandise trade deficit widens in July as imports soar while exports remain stable
September 11, 2018
Merchandise exports grew just 0.3% in annual terms in July, coming in below June’s revised 2.7% growth (previously reported: -0.1% year-on-year). July’s result reflected an uptick in six of the ten top commodity categories, with miscellaneous manufactured articles, fresh bananas, and electronic equipment and parts registering the strongest annual growth rates. However, this was largely offset by a contraction in exports of machinery and transport equipment; ignition and other wiring sets (which are used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships); and machinery and transport equipment.
Growth in imports meanwhile continued to surge, from 24.2% in June to 31.7% in July. The faster expansion was driven by an across-the-board acceleration in nine out of the ten top commodity categories of the index, with imports of live animals and other foods being the only category to register a contraction.
Lastly, the merchandise trade balance in July recorded a USD 3.5 billion deficit, up from the USD 3.2 billion deficit recorded in June, and nearly three times more than the USD 1.3 billion deficit logged in July 2017.
Author: Joffrey Simonet, Economist