The Philippines’ total merchandise trade in April 2020 declined 59.8% to US$6.07 billion from $15.10 billion year-on-year, with both imports and exports recording their biggest decrease since 2009, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Restrictions in production supply chains and global trade flow due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the country’s trade, the National Economic and Development Authority earlier said.
April 2020 saw the first full month of enhanced community quarantines in various parts of the country, limiting movement of people and closing most business activities.
The country’s balance of trade in goods in April 2020 plunged to $0.50 billion or an annual drop of 86.9%. On the other hand, trade deficit grew at an annual rate of 2.7% in April 2019.
Imports, which accounted for 51.4% of the total merchandise trade, dove 65.3% in April 2020 to $3.28 billion from $9.45 billion in the same month last year. This was the highest annual decline recorded since April 2009.
The decrement of imported goods in April 2020 was due to decreases in the top 10 major import commodities led by transport equipment (-89.8%); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-87.4%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles (-75.5%).
Exports likewise dropped 50.8% to $2.78 billion from $5.65 billion in April 2019, its highest recorded contraction since January 2009.
Largely contributing to the downtrend in April 2020 were seven of the top 10 major export commodities led by other manufactured goods (-64.0%); machinery and transport equipment (-63.6%); and coconut oil (-55.5%).
By commodity group, electronic products remained the country’s top import, accounting for 39.6% of the total or $1.3 billion. It also remained as the top export commodity with 57.3% or $1.60 billion of the total.
By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods accounted for the highest share of $2.05 billion or 73.7% of the total. For imports, raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share of $1.47 billion or 44.7% of the total.
By trading partner, Hong Kong accounted for the highest value of exports, followed by China, Japan, the United States (US), and Singapore.
China remained the Philippines’ biggest supplier of imported goods, while the other major import trading partners were Japan, South Korea, US, and Taiwan.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning secretary Karl Kendrick Chua earlier said merchandise trade may recover in 2021, but this will depend on how fast the country can contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its economic impact through government policies to support affected industries and workers.