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PH merchandise trade contracts 9.2% in Sept

  • Philippine merchandise trade declined for the eighth consecutive month in September 2020, contracting 9.2% to $14.14 billion year-on-year
  • Exports grew 2.2% to $6.22 billion in September 2020 from a year ago, its first improvement after six months in a row of decline
  • Imports remained on a downtrend for the 17th consecutive month in September with a 16.5% decline to $7.92 billion year-on-year
  • Balance of trade in goods in September 2020 amounted to $1.71 billion for a trade deficit with an annual decline of 49.9%

Image by Alexandre Gonçalves da Rocha from Pixabay

The Philippines’ total merchandise trade declined anew in September 2020, contracting 9.2% to US$14.14 billion from $15.6 billion in the same period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The contraction is the eighth consecutive month of decline but was slower than the annual drop of 17.9% in August.

Of the total external trade in September 2020, 56% were imported goods, and the rest were exported goods.

The balance of trade in goods in September 2020 amounted to $1.71 billion, representing a trade deficit with an annual decline of 49.9%, faster than the trade deficit of 39.1% in August 2020 and 15.3% in September 2019.

Exports increased 2.2% to $6.22 billion in September 2020, its first improvement after six months in a row of decline. Last month’s export bill was higher than the $6.1 billion in September 2019.

Of the top 10 major commodity groups in terms of the value of exports, seven recorded an annual increase, with the highest increases led by cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (133.9%); other mineral products (73.3%); and metal components (32.9%).

From January to September 2020, exports amounted to $45.87 billion, lower by 13.8% than the export value earned from January to September 2019.

Imports remained on a downtrend with a 16.5% decline in September 2020 to $7.92 billion from $9.5 billion in the same month last year.

This is the 17th straight month of decline for imports, but it was slower than the 21.3% decline in August 2020 and higher than the 5.8% decline in September 2019.

The annual decrement of imported goods in September 2020 was due to the decrease in eight out of the top 10 major import commodities. The decline was fastest in transport equipment (-53.0%); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-51.4%); and industrial machinery and equipment (-23.3%).

From January to September 2020, imports reached $61.95 billion, falling 26% compared with the import value of $83.69 billion posted in the same period of 2019.

By commodity group, electronic products remained as the country’s top export, valued at $3.63 billion or 58.3% of the total. It also contributed the highest in terms of imports, valued at $2.43 billion or 30.6% of the total.

By major type of goods, manufactured goods had the highest share to total exports with $5.19 billion or 83.4% of the total, while raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share of the total import bill with $3.21 billion or 40.5% of the aggregate.

The import of personal protective equipment and medical supplies in September 2020 contracted to $21.75 million, the decrement of 15.7% attributed to the decline in imports of protective clothing, surgical gloves, and testing kits.

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

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

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