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PH goods trade posts sixth month of growth in July

  • Philippine total merchandise trade grew for the sixth consecutive month by 19.2%
  • Imports increased 24% while exports rose 12.7% in July 2021
  • Trade deficit jumped 54.1%, slower than the 138.5% posted in June 2021 but faster than the 41.4% in July 2020
  • Electronic products still the top imported and exported commodity
  • For both imports and exports, raw materials and intermediate goods led the pack

The Philippines’ merchandise trade grew 19.2% in July 2021, its sixth consecutive month of improvement as both imports and exports recorded double-digit increases anew, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Imports rose 24% to $9.71 billion in July 2021 from $7.834 billion in the same month last year. This was the sixth consecutive month of growth for imports after registering a downward trend from May 2019 to January 2021.

Exports also continued to record growth for the fifth month in a row, increasing 12.7% to $6.42 billion from $5.699 billion in July 2020.

External trade in July 2021 amounted to US$16.13 billion, higher than the $13.532 billion recorded in the same month in 2020. This is the sixth month in a row of improvement in trade after the February 2021 modest growth broke 12 straight months of decline since February 2020. Trade in March 2020 and the succeeding months was affected by restrictions in both production supply chains and global trade flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the total external trade in July 2021, 60.2% were imported goods, while the rest were exported goods.

Trade deficit, however, increased 54.1% to $3.29 billion in July, slower than the 138.5% posted in June 2021 but faster than the 41.4% in July 2020.


The annual increment in imports was due to the increase in nine of the top 10 major commodity groups which was led by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with 84.9% increase, followed by iron and steel (62.9%); and transport equipment (59.7%).

For the period January to July 2021, imports rose 30.2% to $63.70 billion from $48.91 billion in the same period in 2020.


Of the top 10 major export commodity groups, nine recorded annual increases led by coconut oil (207.7%). This was followed by cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (84.6%), and ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (28.6%).

For the January to July 2021 period, exports amounted to $42.39 billion, 19.7% higher than the export value earned from January to July 2020.

Electronic products remained the country’s top import commodity, accounting for 28.1% share or $ 2.73 billion in July 2021. It was also still the top exported commodity, contributing 57.4% or $3.69 billion to the total.

By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods still accounted for the largest share of 40.4% or $3.93 billion. Exports of manufactured goods still had the biggest share with 82.6% or $5.30 billion.

Imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, including COVID-19 vaccine, in July 2021 increased 256.2% year-on-year to $123.52 million. For themonth, the total import of the COVID-19 vaccine was valued at $104.20 million.

Exports of PPE and medical supplies, meanwhile, declined for the sixth straight month, posting a 39.8% drop to $1.36 million in July 2021.

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

For exports, China was also the top destination for July 2021, followed by the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.


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