PH exports down 6%, imports up 6.8% in Q1
Sales of Philippine-made goods abroad dipped for the third straight month in March, such that merchandise exports declined 6 percent year-on-year to $15.8 billion in the first quarter, the government reported on Wednesday.
Imports, meanwhile, rose 6.8 percent year-on-year to $24.4 billion during the first three months, even as receipts inched up by only 0.1 percent to $8.1 billion in March, the slowest growth in eight months.
In March alone, exports dropped 8.2 percent year-on-year to $5.5 billion, the fastest decline in three months, preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.
Although electronic products, which account for more than half of Philippine exports, grew 6.8 percent to $3.2 billion in March, other major export commodities dropped double-digits, including machinery and transport equipment (down 44.6 percent); gold (down 33.8 percent); coconut oil (down 30.3 percent); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircraft, and ships (down 28.9 percent); other manufactured goods (down 24.5 percent); and other mineral products (down 21.5 percent).
On the other hand, imported mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials increased 30.6 percent in March; iron and steel, up 14.5 percent; electronic products, up 6.7 percent; and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, up 4.4 percent.
As the value of imported goods continued to outpace that of exports, the balance of trade in goods remained at a deficit of $8.7 billion in the first quarter, 41.9 percent wider than the $6.1-billion deficit in the same period last year.
Last March alone, the trade in goods deficit widened 23.9 percent to $2.6 billion from $2.1 billion a year ago. /kga
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