Trade deficit narrows again as May imports decline
MANILA -The Philippines’ deficit in the trade of goods shrank some more by 21 percent to $4.4 billion in May when the imports bill fell sharply while exports increased moderately, data at the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show.
Preliminary data at the PSA show that while the trade gap improved significantly, two-way traffic of goods in May also decreased by 5.1 percent to $17.3 billion from $18.2 billion a year ago.
Last May, export receipts rose by 1.9 percent to $6.4 billion from $6.3 billion in the same month of 2022.
Meanwhile, imports fell by 8.8 percent to $10.8 billion from $11.9 billion.
Monthly readouts have been receding amid concerns of a global economic slowdown and dampened demand for goods.
ING Bank has noted the downtrend in imports, which as of May has decreased for the fourth straight month.
The Netherlands-based group said in a commentary that the sustained contraction in imports suggests that growth momentum of Philippine gross domestic product has begun to moderate, although they saw consumer demand to be still robust.
Also, ING Bank said the outlook for exports was not particularly upbeat as the Philippines’ regional trading partners were also reporting challenges for the electronics sector.
In May, the S&P Global Philippines Manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers index) regained steam after some loss in April, albeit still not recovering to the level seen in March.
S&P Global said that manufacturers’ confidence dipped to an 11-month low in May even if new orders and production continued to expand.
These developments may be gleaned from trade data as a significant part of the traffic of goods are meant for manufacturing inputs.
Electronic products were still the biggest export-earning commodity group, with $3.7 billion in receipts last May or 58 percent of the month’s total. The value of outbound shipments increased by 6.7 percent.
Completing the top three exports were “other mineral products” with $346.6 million and “other manufactured goods” with $319.6 million.
Electronic products were also the country’s top import with a value of $2.2 billion or about one-fifth of the total bill in May.
These were followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials valued at $1.56 billion; and transport equipment at $1.23 billion. INQ