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PH cuts agriculture trade deficit by 70%

/ 09:19 PM October 18, 2013

The Philippines succeeded in trimming its agricultural trade deficit by 70.3 percent in the first half of 2013 from that of the year before, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).

Today, the deficit stands at $424.4 million.

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BAS data showed that, in the first six months of the year, agricultural exports surged by 30.7 percent while imports fell by 6.3 percent.

From January to June, agricultural products accounted for 12.6 percent, or $3.22 billion, of total outbound shipments worth $25.6 billion.

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On the other hand, agricultural imports represented 11.7 percent, or $3.65 billion, of the $31.3-billion in total inbound cargoes.

In the first half of the year, earnings from the country’s top 10 agricultural exports rose by 30.8 percent to $2.24 billion, accounting for 69 percent of total produce shipped abroad.

These products include coconut oil, fresh bananas, tuna, pineapple and its products, manufactured tobacco, centrifugal sugar, copra oil cake, seaweeds and carrageenan, desiccated coconut, and manufactured fertilizer.

The BAS said that, while coconut oil posted the least growth at just 0.3 percent, it accounted for the biggest income with $538.3 million.

Sugar, banana, tobacco and tuna showed strong growth, ranging from 53 percent to 74 percent, while desiccated coconut was the only item on the list of top ten exports to show a decrease of 20.3 percent.

Also, the country’s bill for the top 10 agricultural imports slid by 7 percent to $1.76 billion.

These include wheat, soybean oil or cakemeal, milk and cream and their products, manufactured fertilizer, meat of bovine animals, coffee, rice, urea, unmanufactured tobacco, and tuna.

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Top import wheat represented 11.8 percent of total at $430.7 million.

Except for soybean oil or cake, all items on the top 10 agricultural imports list recorded declining bills.

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