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Philippines trade deficit largest in 3 months

Staff writer |
Philippines reported a trade deficit of $2.28 billion in April of 2016, larger than a 0.62 billion gap a year earlier. It was the largest deficit since February as exports fell while imports jumped.

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Year-on-year, sales declined by 4.1 percent to $4.25 billion, following a 15.1 percent fall in March.

It was the 13rd straight month of decline, driven by lower sales of articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-39.1 percent), chemicals (-9.0 percent) and machinery and transport equipment (-0.9 percent).

In contrast, exports rose for: miscellaneous manufactured articles (+50.2 percent), woodcrafts and furniture (+21.9 percent) and electronic equipments (+19.4 percent). Exports of electronic products, the country's top export revenues, also increased by 1.9 percent.

Sales fell to the US (-0.8 percent to $704.64 million), China (-15.1 percent to $416.08 million) and Hong Kong (-0.4 percent to $472.01 million).

In contrast, shipments rose to Japan (+3.2 percent to $850.72 million), Singapore (+27.3 percent to $349.47 million), the ASEAN countries (+16.7 percent to $719.28 million) and the EU countries (+3.1 percent to $535.22 million).

Imports jumped by 29.2 percent to $6.53 billion, the highest value since February, following a 11.7 percent growth in March while market expected a 20 percent gain. Purchases increased the most for metal products (+91.0 percent), industrial machinery & equipment (+73.9 percent) and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (+72.8 percent).

Imports also went up for: electronic products (+69.9 percent), iron and steel (+62.9 percent), miscellaneous manufactured articles (+34.2 percent), plastics in primary and non-primary forms (+31.0 percent), transport equipment (+25.4 percent) and other food and live animals (+7.5 percent).

In contrast, inbound shipment fell by 10.9 percent for mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials.

Purchases from China, the biggest source of purchases for Philippines, rose 68.8 percent year-on-year to $1.30 billion. Those from Japan also increased by 116.2 percent to $748.68 million, followed by the US (+25.9 percent to $556.93.51 million), Thailand (+63.8 percent to $485.47 million) and the ASEAN countries (+17.3 percent to $1.67 billion).

In contrast, inbound shipments dropped to Singapore (-1.2 percent to $430.04 million) and the EU countries (-7.0 percent to $575.79 million).

In March 2016, trade deficit was registered at $1.75 billion.


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