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HomeCustoms & TradeAfter 12 months of declines, PH trade posts marginal gain in Feb

After 12 months of declines, PH trade posts marginal gain in Feb

  • The Philippines’ total merchandise trade recorded an increase in February 2021, growing 0.6% to US$12.91 billion from P12.833 billion in the same month last year
  • After being on a downtrend for 21 consecutive months since May 2019, imports grew 2.7%
  • Exports declined 2.3% following two-consecutive months of growth
  • Electronic products remained the country’s top import and export in terms of commodity group, while top import type of good is still raw materials and intermediate goods and manufactured goods for exports

The country’s total merchandise trade has finally recorded an increase in February, breaking 12 consecutive months of declines with an improvement in imports.

Trade grew 0.6% to US$12.91 billion in February 2021 from P12.833 billion in the same month last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

Imports in February 2021 grew 2.7% to $7.60 billion from $7.40 billion in February 2020. This was the first increase in imports after being on a downtrend for 21 consecutive months since May 2019.

The increment in February 2021 was due to increase in seven of the top 10 major commodity groups led by telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (23.2%), followed by other food and live animals (13.7%); and plastics in primary and non-primary forms (8.8%).

Exports, on the other hand, declined 2.3% to $5.31 billion in February from $5.432 billion in the same month last year. The decrease came after exports posted two consecutive months of growth.

Of the top 10 major commodity groups in terms of export value, three recorded annual decreases led by cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (-24.8%). This was followed by machinery and transport equipment (-4.1%), and other manufactured goods (-2.2%).

Of the total external trade in February 2021, 58.9% were imported goods, while the rest were exported goods.

The balance of trade in February 2021 amounted to $2.29 billion, representing a trade deficit of 16.5%.

Electronic products remained the country’s top import and export in terms of commodity group in February 2021. The group accounted for 27.9% or $2.12 billion of the total import bill, and 56.2% or $2.98 billion of the total export bill.

By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods still accounted for the largest share at $2.97 billion or 39% of the total. Exports of manufactured goods continued to have the highest share to total with $4.53 billion or 85.3%.

Imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies soared 241.6% in February 2021 to $38.90 million from the same month of the previous year. The growth was attributed to improvements in the import of surgical face masks, other face masks, testing kits, safety headgear, surgical gloves, and protective clothing.

Exports of PPE and medical supplies, however, dropped 40.1% to $1.76 million with exports of surgical face masks contributing largely to the decrease in export value.

By major trading partners, exports to the United States comprised the highest value, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Thailand.

In terms of imports, China remained as the Philippines’ biggest supplier, while the other major import trading partners were Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia.

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