Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Press Releases » Import, export declines pull down PH trade by 38.7% in May

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The Philippines’ total merchandise trade in May 2020 sank 38.7% to US$9.84 billion from $16.05 billion in the same period last year as both imports and exports recorded double-digit declines, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The country’s balance of trade in goods in May 2020 was recorded at $-1.87 billion, representing a trade deficit with an annual decline of 48.9%.

Of the total external trade in May 2020, 59.5% were imported goods and the rest exported goods.

Imports in May 2020 amounted to $5.85 billion, falling 40.6% from $9.85 billion in May 2019.

PSA noted this was the second highest annual drop since decreases were observed beginning May 2019. In April 2020, imports recorded a decline of 65.3%, its highest annual decline recorded since April 2009.

READ: PH trade plunges 59.8% in April

The decrement of imported goods in May 2020 was due to decreases in nine out of the top 10 major import commodities which was led by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-80.0%); transport  equipment  (-65.6%);  and   iron  and steel (-61.0%).

Exports also dropped 35.6% to $3.99 billion from $6.20 billion in May 2019 due to the decrease in eight of the top 10 export commodities led by ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (-70.4%); other manufactured goods (-50.6%); and chemicals (-37.2%).

This was the third consecutive month of decline recorded for exports, and slower than the 50.8% drop in April 2020, its highest recorded contraction since January 2009.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in a statement said “the slower decline in trade performance is a welcome indication that economic activity has started to pick up with the relaxation of quarantine measures in certain areas, the gradual reopening of business, and the restarting of production in both the country and its trading partners.”

By commodity group, electronic products remained as the country’s top import, accounting for 31.2% of the total or $1.83 billion. It also remained as the top export commodity with 57.4% or $ 2.29 billion of the total.

By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods accounted for the highest share of $3.18 billion or 79.8% of the total. For imports, raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share of $2.54 billion or 43.3% of the total.

PSA also noted that the import value for personal protective equipment, and medical supplies in May 2020 amounted to $32 million, indicating an annual increase of 64.9%.

By trading partner, Japan accounted for the highest value of exports, followed by China, Hong Kong, the United States, and Singapore.

China remained the Philippines’ biggest supplier of imported goods, while the other major import trading partners were South Korea, Japan, US, and Singapore.

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