Philippines: Trade deficit narrows in April

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s trade deficit narrowed by 20.5 percent in April on double-digit growth in exports to East Asia and the European Union (EU) , the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

Total trade in goods in April rose by 4.6 percent to $11.663 billion from $11.149 billion last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

While total exports still did not outpace imports, it grew by 12.1 percent to $4.805 billion in April from $4.285 billion in the same month last year, offsetting the 0.1 percent decrease in imports to $6.857 billion in April from $6.865 billion last year.

Top exports in April were mineral products, coconut oil, machinery and transport equipment, metal components, electronic products, and chemicals.

Imports, meanwhile, were mostly capital goods such as industrial machinery and equipment, telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, mineral fuels and lubricants, iron and steel and electronic products.

East Asia and the EU remained the top destinations of Philippine products, accounting for 62.3 percent of total export receipts. Outbound shipments to these destinations grew 10 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

“We aim to deepen our engagement with our neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region to enhance trade and investment links,” said NEDA chief and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

“Despite global uncertainties, we remain upbeat that the country will sustain the strong performance of export and trade growth recorded in the first quarter,” he added.

Pernia said the country may benefit from strengthening bilateral relations with United Arab Emirates and India to determine opportunities for Philippine products.

Philippine exports to the UAE and India rose 286.4 percent and 204.1 percent respectively, in April.

“We see an opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties with India as it becomes a major player in the global economy,” said Pernia. “Their large consumer base can be an important market for Philippine products.”

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/06/10/1708425/trade-deficit-narrows-april