Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest report, total trade grew to US$11.3 billion, backed by imports growing 20.3% and exports accelerating 11%, recording the country’s second consecutive double-digit growth this year.
“We see this as a strong follow-through to the 14.2% growth of total Philippine trade recorded in January, keeping our country’s economy on-track in sustaining its momentum of growth,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.
Export earnings rose to $4.7 billion, mainly driven by growth in the volume of manufactured goods (6.2%), mineral products (99.5%), and petroleum products (224.6%).
“The healthy growth in Philippine exports was mainly driven by higher exports to East Asian countries, comprising 48.3% share in total exports. Receipts from Hong Kong and China surged by 66% and 24.7% growth, respectively,” the Cabinet official said.
He also noted that Philippine exports to ASEAN countries grew 18.8% in the same period, a good sign that the country is forging stronger connections with its Asian neighbors.
Also, import payments grew to $6.5 billion in the same period, spurred by volume increase in the purchases of mineral fuels and lubricants (97.3%), raw materials and intermediate goods (7.9%), capital goods (18%), and consumer goods (21.5%).
“The performance of trade in the first two months of the year is a good indication that we are on an upward trajectory. With ASEAN chairmanship [by the Philippines] and China’s rebalancing to a more consumer-oriented growth, the Philippines is expected to have expansions in terms of products and markets,” Pernia said.
He added that to ensure sustained growth, it should be complemented with efforts to improve the competitiveness of the country’s exports.
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