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Exports up 10.4% in July; 7-mo trade gap at $1.65B

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Exports up 10.4% in July; 7-mo trade gap at $1.65B

/ 05:10 AM September 13, 2017

Total external trade inched up 2.2 percent year-on-year to $12.22 billion in July as the double-digit jump in exports offset the decline in imports.

A preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report released yesterday showed that the value of merchandise exports and imports at the start of the second half increased from $11.95 billion in July last year.

The trade growth posted that month outpaced the 1.5-percent growth in June, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement.

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Sales of Philippine-made goods abroad climbed 10.4 percent to $5.28 billion from $4.79 billion mainly as shipments of electronic products, the country’s top export commodity, grew 11.8 percent to $2.76 billion.

The growth in exports in July reversed the 10.9-percent drop a year ago.

Imports, meanwhile, declined 3.2 percent to $6.93 billion from July last year’s $7.16 billion.

The increase in the value of imported goods that entered the country in July was a reversal of the 4.6-percent rise last year.

The balance of trade in goods that month remained at a deficit of $1.65 billion, narrower than the $2.37-billion gap recorded a year ago.

From January to July, the total trade volume grew 10.3 percent to $87.8 billion, Neda said.

In a statement, Neda said it expected the integration with Asean as well as the bigger Asia-Pacific region to further boost the Philippines’ trade performance.

“Our country’s trade performance is consistent with the Asian trade growth. We are optimistic that higher growth will be achieved for the remaining months of the year,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, who heads Neda.

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“Asean member-states agreed during the recent Asean Economic Community meetings to prioritize trade in goods and trade facilitation, among others. For the region, this means a chance to double intra-Asean trade by 2025. For the Philippines, this means strengthened economic ties with our neighbors and a chance to deepen our partnerships,” Pernia said.

As for the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will group Asean with its six free-trade partners, Pernia said “this partnership may facilitate more exchange of goods and services, attract investments, create more jobs and improve the standard of living.”

Meanwhile, manufacturing growth, as measured by the volume of production index (VoPI), dropped 1.1 percent in July, reversing the 12.1-percent growth in the same month last year.

“Eight out of the 20 major sectors registered annual declines, with two-digit decreases noted in the following major sectors: Chemical products (down 52.6 percent), textiles (down 20.3 percent) and rubber and plastic products (down 13.9 percent),” the PSA said in its latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries report for July.

In a separate statement, Neda blamed the decline in VoPI that month to the decrease in the production of petroleum products and chemicals, which dropped 1.1 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively. —BEN O. DE VERA

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