Philippine merchandise trade hit its sixth consecutive month of decline in September 2019 as both imports and exports recorded decreases during the period, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
PSA said total merchandise trade went down 7.5% to US$14.92 billion in September 2019 from $16.13 billion in the same period last year.
Imports dropped 10.5% to $9.02 billion in September 2019 from $10.08 billion in September 2018 due to decrements in seven of the top 10 major import commodities. These were iron and steel (-46.8%); cereals and cereal preparations (-22.0%); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-14.5%); plastics in primary and non-primary forms (-9.4%); transport equipment (-7.8%); electronic products (-7.1%); and industrial machinery and equipment (-1.2%).
This is the sixth consecutive month of decline for imports.
Exports, on the other hand, recorded its first month of decline in September 2019 after five consecutive months of improvement. PSA said exports went down 2.6% to $5.90 billion from $6.05 billion in September last year. This was due to decreases in the export sales of seven of the top 10 major export commodities, namely, metal components (-25.8%); articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-20.7%); machinery and transport equipment (-20.0%); miscellaneous manufactured articles, (-8.1%); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (-7.0%); other manufactured goods (-6.3%); and gold (-1.8).
The country’s balance of trade in goods recorded a $3.12 billion deficit in September 2019, lower by 22.5% from the $4.02 billion deficit in September 2018.
Electronic products continued to be the country’s top import and export products.
By major trading partners, exports to Japan comprised the highest value followed by the United States, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore.
China remained as the Philippines’ biggest supplier of imported goods, while other major import trading partners were Japan, US, South Korea, and Thailand.