As trade sentiment rises, so do importsBy Ana G. Roa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The value of capital goods being shipped in continues to grow, indicating that businesses in the country remain upbeat, according to a top official of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
Last June, the value of imported capital goods increased by 62.8 percent to $1.8 billion, from $1.1 billion in the same period last year.
“This means that our industries are buying more equipment to produce more, or that they intend to build new production plants in the country,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement Friday.
Balisacan said that higher payments for capital goods, raw materials and intermediate goods and consumer goods helped boost the growth of merchandise imports in June 2012.
According to the National Statistics Office, merchandise imports in June were valued at $5.101 billion, rising by 13.3 percent from the $4.504 billion registered in the same month last year.
Neda deputy director general Emmanuel Esguerra said in a text message that “if business remains optimistic, the uptrend could continue.”
Payments for raw materials and intermediate goods rose 6.1 percent to $1.8 billion in June, from $1.7 billion in the same period the previous year, NSO data showed.
The National Economic and Development Authority said the higher value of imported raw materials was brought on by the 8.3-percent increase in payment for semi-processed raw inputs, as well as the 18.7-percent rise in inbound shipments of materials for the manufacture of electronic equipment.
“But worth noting is the significant increase in the import of materials/accessories for electronic manufactures, signaling the anticipated improvement in global demand for semiconductor equipment as Japan’s book-to-bill ratio have been picking up since April,” Balisacan explained.
The Neda official noted that, in June, chip sales rose 3.7 percent in Japan and 1 percent in the Asia Pacific while the volume of outbound shipments of electronic equipment increased by 10.9 percent even though the markets in the United States and Europe remained weak.
“All these contributed to the favorable outturn in the imports of materials for electronic manufactures,” he said.
In addition, imports of consumer good was up 9.9 percent to $697 million in June mainly due to the higher payments for durable goods (31.9 percent), which supported robust domestic sales of passenger cars and motorcycles (60.3 percent), as well as home appliances (26.4 percent).
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