October imports down by 8.6%
The country’s imports fell in October from a year ago, reversing the recovery seen in the previous month, as the outlook on global demand for electronics again dimmed.
The National Statistics Office on Friday reported that imports in October reached $4.82 billion, down by 8.6 percent from a year ago.
This was due mainly to the 7.3-percent drop in electronics imports to $1.25 billion, data from the NSO showed.
A significant portion of Philippine imports is composed of raw materials and intermediate inputs for the production of goods meant for export. As such, projections on the global export market affect the country’s import performance.
Given the latest import and export data of the NSO, the country posted a trade surplus of $202 million in October, reversing the $867-million deficit in the same month last year.
Import figures for October brought the total for the first 10 months of the year to $51.18 billion, down by 0.8 percent from a year ago, the NSO said.
Earlier, the NSO reported that exports for the first 10 months of the year grew by a mere 1.3 percent year-on-year to $45.09 billion.
Given the lackluster performance of both imports and exports in the past months, government economic officials said the trade figures for the year would likely fall significantly short of the targets.
The government had set the import and export growth targets for the year at 12 and 10 percent, respectively.
The lower-than-expected trade figures so far in the year was attributed to lingering economic problems in industrialized countries, which were the Philippines’ key export markets.
Anemic trade data also prompted government economic officials to reduce the export and import growth targets for 2014.
The export growth target for next year was cut from 11 percent to 6 percent, while the import growth target was slashed from 13 percent to 5 percent.
The reduction of the targets, however, was not solely due to the outlook on global demand for next year but also to the changes in the international standards in computing balance of payments (BOP), officials earlier said.
Despite the cuts in the export and import targets, the country’s economic managers are keeping the country’s economic growth projection for 2014 at the range of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.
Arsenio Balisacan, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said strong domestic demand would help the country hit the economic-growth target.
Domestic demand is seen to remain robust amid expectations that remittances, which support household consumption, will continue posting strong growth.
Also, domestic demand is expected to be boosted by an improving business climate which, officials said, could lead to higher investments by companies operating in the country.
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