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PH trade doubles in April on strong imports, exports

  • The Philippines’ total merchandise trade grew 107.5% in April 2021, its third consecutive month of improvement
  • Imports grew for the third straight month by 140.9% while exports jumped 72.1% in April 2021
  • Trade deficit, however, increased 1,361.5% to $2.73 billion
  • Electronic products remained the country’s top import and export commodity group, while top import type of good is still raw materials and top export type is intermediate goods and manufactured goods

The Philippines’ merchandise trade grew 107.5% in April 2021, the country’s third consecutive month of improvement as both imports and exports posted significant increases, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

Trade in April 2021 amounted to US$14.16 billion, up from $6.827 billion in April 2020. This marks the third month in a row of improvement, after the February 2021 modest growth broke 12 straight months of decline since February 2020. Trade in March 2020 and the succeeding months had been affected by the restrictions in both production supply chains and global trade flow due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Of the total external trade in April 2021, about 59.7% were imported goods, while the rest were exported goods.

Trade deficit in April 2021, however, increased 1,361.5% to $2.73 billion.

Imports recorded a 140.9% increase to $8.45 billion in April 2021 from $3.507 billion in the same month last year. This is likewise the third consecutive month of growth for imports after registering a downward trend from May 2019 to January 2021.

All of the top 10 major commodity groups for imports showed increases, led by transport equipment (547.4%) and followed by mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials (387.9%) and other food and live animals (283.1%).

For the period January to April 2021, imports rose 21.9% to $34.46 billion from $28.27 billion in the same period of 2020.

Exports also saw continuous growth, recording a 72.1% jump to $5.71 billion in April 2021 from $3.32 billion year-on-year. Exports so far have posted increments in January and March for this year.

All the top 10 major commodity groups for exports recorded annual increases, led by ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts, and ships (1,237.6%). This was followed by metal components (345.2%) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (256.1%).

From January to April, exports grew 19% to $23.37 billion compared with the export value earned from January to April 2020.

By commodity group, electronic products continued to be the country’s top export in April 2021 with total earnings of $3.22 billion or 56.4% of the total. It is also the most imported good with a value of $2.41 billion or a 28.5% share.

By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods had the highest share with $4.71 billion or 82.3%, while raw materials and intermediate goods still accounted for the largest share of imports with $3.40 billion or a 40.2% share of the total.

Imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies including COVID-19 vaccines increased to $45.70 million in April 2021, indicating an annual increment of 98.6%. Of the total, COVID-19 vaccines were valued at $14 million.

Exports of PPE and medical supplies, however, dropped 86.9% to $2.74 million, with surgical face masks and other face masks largely contributing to the decrease.

In terms of exports, those to China comprised the highest value, followed by the US, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

In terms of imports, China remained as the Philippines’ biggest supplier, while Japan, US, Indonesia, and South Korea are the other major import trading partners.


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