The Philippines’ total merchandise trade grew 39.9% in May 2021, its fourth consecutive month of improvement
Imports grew for the fourth straight month by 47.7%
Exports rose for the third straight month by 29.8%
Trade deficit jumped 109.7%
Electronic products remained the country’s top import and export commodity group
Top import type was still raw materials and top export type was manufactured goods
The Philippines’ total merchandise trade grew for the fourth consecutive month in May 2021, reporting a 39.9% increase as both imports and exports recorded double-digit growths, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
Trade in May 2021 reached US$14.54 billion, higher than the $10.397 billion posted in the same month last year. This is the fourth consecutive month 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 were affected by restrictions in both production supply chains and global trade flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the total trade in May 2021, 59.5% were imported goods, while the rest were exported goods.
Trade deficit increased 109.7% to $2.76 billion in May 2021, slower than the 1,548.9% increase in April 2021 but higher than the 64% hike in May 2020.
Imports amounted to $8.65 billion, a 47.7% improvement from $5.855 billion in May 2020. This was likewise the fourth month in a row of growth for imports after registering a downward trend from May 2019 to January 2021.
The increment was due to the increase in nine of the top 10 major commodity groups, which was led by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (301.6%). This group was followed by iron and steel (111.3%) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (80.4%).
For the period January to May 2021, imports reached $43.53 billion, a 27.6% growth from $34.12 billion in the same period of 2020.
Exports also recorded its third consecutive month of improvement, reporting $5.89 billion in May 2021, which was 29.8% higher $4.542 billion in May 2020.
Nine of the top 10 major export commodity groups recorded annual increases led by ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (220.7%). This was followed by metal components (150.8%), and cathodes & sections of cathodes, of refined copper (135.4%).
For the first five months of the year, exports rose 21.4% to $29.35 billion from the export value earned in the same period last year.
Electronic products remained the country’s top import commodity, accounting for 27.7% share or $2.39 billion. It was also still the top exported commodity, contributing 58.2% or $3.43 billion to the total.
By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods still accounted for the largest share of 40.1% or $3.46 billion. Exports of manufactured goods still had the biggest share with 84.2% or $4.96 billion.
Imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, including COVID-19 vaccines, in May 2021 increased 86.6% to $62.85 million. In May 2021, the total import of COVID-19 vaccine was valued at $35.30 million.
Exports of PPE and medical supplies in May 2021, meanwhile, dropped 93.1% to $1.61 million.
The annual decrement noted in the export of surgical face masks at 98.3% and protective clothing at 19% contributed to the decrease of export value for PPE and medical supplies in May 2021. On the other hand, exports of other face masks (non-surgical/non-medical masks including masks made of cloth) increased by 275.2% in May 2021.
In terms of trading partners, China was the top destination of exports, followed by the US, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
In terms of imports, China remained as the Philippines’ biggest supplier, while Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the US were the other major import trading partners.