The Philippines’ total merchandise trade recorded an increase in December 2019 after registering eight consecutive months of decline since April 2019, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Total external trade in goods in December 2019 amounted to US$13.96 billion, a 2.4% increment from the $13.63 billion posted in the same month of the previous year.
Of this, imports accounted for 58.9% of the total while exports comprised the remaining 41.1%.
The country’s balance of trade in goods in December 2019 recorded a $2.48 billion deficit, lower by 40.6% from the $4.17 billion deficit in December 2018.
Imports, however, continued to their ninth month of decline in December 2019, contracting 7.6% to $8.22 billion from $8.90 billion in December 2018. The decrease was due to decrements in seven of the top 10 major import commodities. These were iron and steel (-38.0%); cereals and cereal preparations (-30.8%); industrial machinery and equipment (-21.9%); plastics in primary and non-primary forms (-21.5%); other food and live animals (-11.5%); electronic products (-7.1%); and transport equipment (-1.2%).
Exports, on the other hand, increased 21.4% to $5.74 billion from $4.73 billion previously, a reversal from the recorded decline in November 2019.
The improvement in exports was due to increments in export sales of nine of the top 10 major export commodities, namely, cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (471.2%); fresh bananas (34.9%); gold (30.2%); electronic products (24.9%); chemicals (18.2%); machinery and transport equipment (12.6%); other manufactured goods (10.4%); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (3.5%); and coconut oil (1.1%).
By commodity group, electronic products continued to be the country’s top export, accounting for 59.9%, or $3.44 billion, of the total, while also remaining as the top import, with a 25.3% share, or $2.08 billion, of the total import bill.
By major trading partners, exports to the United States (US) comprised the highest value, followed by Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Singapore.
China remained as the Philippines’ biggest supplier of imported goods, while the other major import trading partners were Japan, South Korea, US, and Singapore.