February imports up slightly to $4.72B
The country’s imports grew in February as expectations of rising business activities prompted firms to purchase more raw materials and intermediate goods from abroad.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Friday that merchandise imports were valued at $4.72 billion in February, up by 0.3 percent year-on-year. This was slower than the 26-percent annual rate of increase registered in January, but kept the average for the first two months of the year at a double-digit pace of 13.15 percent.
The slowdown in import growth in February substantiated views of economists on the lingering uncertainties in the global economy, which partly influence business activities domestically.
The National Economic and Development Authority, however, said data showing that robust growth in imports of raw materials and intermediate goods reflected optimism of local businesses that demand for their goods would strengthen in the months ahead.
It cited electronics firms, which the agency said expected higher demand for their goods by clients offshore.
Raw material and intermediate goods, including electronics, accounted for $2.17 billion, or 46 percent, of the total import bill for February. The amount marked a 29-percent year-on-year increase.
“The increase in imports of this segment (reflected) optimistic prospects on the continued recovery of the country’s electronic exports,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
Balisacan, who is also Neda director general, said the growth in raw materials and intermediate goods supported ongoing public and private construction projects.
Capital goods, which accounted for 22.5 percent of the country’s imports for February, dropped year-on-year by 10.3 percent to $1.06 billion.
Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, which accounted for 17.4 percent of the total imports for the month, dropped by 32.2 percent year-on-year to $820 million.
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