Agri trade gap doubled in Q2 as imports surged
The Philippines’ trade deficit in agricultural goods doubled in the second quarter of 2021 as imports rocketed, leaving sluggish exports eating dust.
Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that agricultural imports in the quarter ending June surged by 44.4 percent year-on-year to $3.84 billion from $2.66 billion in the same period in 2020.
At the same time, exports increased slightly at 2 percent to $1.53 billion from $1.5 billion.
This resulted in an agricultural trade deficit of $2.32 billion, or double the gap of $1.16 billion recorded in the second quarter last year.
Also, two-way trade ballooned by 29 percent to a total of $5.37 billion from $4.16 billion. Last year, total trade contracted by 18 percent.
Cereals such as rice and wheat topped the list of imports at $663 million, accounting for 17 percent of total inbound agricultural cargo during the period.
Indonesia, Spain top sources
Completing the top five in terms of value were meat and edible meat offal ($539.5 million); by-products from the food industries including animal fodder ($498 million); miscellaneous edible preparations ($457.7 million); and animal and vegetable fats and oils ($343.9 million).
The top sources of agricultural imports were Indonesia in Southeast Asia with $368.5 million and Spain in the European Union with $91.9 million.
The top agricultural export was the commodity group of edible fruit and nuts and peel of citrus fruit melons. These rang up $452.2 million in earnings.
Also in the top five exports were animal or vegetable fats and oils ($287.9 million); preparations of vegetables, fruits and nuts ($182.6 million); preparations of meat, fish and aquatic invertebrates ($129.7 million); and tobacco ($97 million).
Netherlands No.1 market
Thailand was the biggest buyer of Philippine agricultural exports in Southeast Asia with $46 million worth of outbound shipments.
The Netherlands was the destination for shipments bound for the EU, accounting for $154 million worth of cargo.
Last week, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the Philippines had ample room to improve the potentials of mangoes, coconuts, pineapple, sugarcane and milkfish.
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