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Philippines’ December trade deficit wider at $4.596 billion, says PSA

The Philippine trade deficit continued to expand in December 2022 despite imports contracting at a faster rate than exports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday revealed.

The balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) or the difference between the value of exports and imports stood at a $4.596 billion deficit last December, wider than the $3.709-billion deficit in November, but narrower than the $5.116-billion deficit in the same month of 2021.

“The world economy and world markets are best by apprehension regarding geopolitical risks and attendant economic risks,” University of Asia and the Pacific Senior Economist Cid Terosa said in a mobile message.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain, with major economies such as the United States and the European Union imposing changes to their trading arrangements with Moscow.

“Hence, these jitters have found their way to foreign trade and have caused unsightly slowdowns in both exports and imports,” Terosa said, adding that the slowdowns in both imports and exports could continue until the first half of 2023.

Import receipts for the month posted an annual decline of 9.9% to $10.263-billion from $11.395 billion, also reflecting a decline from $10.809 billion in the previous month.

Declines were recorded in the imports of iron and steel which fell by 41.7%; miscellaneous manufactured articles by 15.3%; transport equipment by 10.9%; electronic products by 10.8%; industrial machinery and equipment by 8.6%; telecommunication equipment by 1.3%; and other food and live animals by 1.0%.

These offset increases in the imports of metalliferous ores and metal scrap which grew by 542.9%; cereals and cereal preparations by 15.9%; and mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials by 13.4%.

China remained the biggest supplier of imported goods for the month, accounting for $2.33 billion or 22.7% of the month’s import receipts.

It was followed by Indonesia with $1.07 billion or 10.4%, Japan with $809.85 million or 7.9%; USA with $699.75 million or 6.8%; and the Republic of Korea with $697.85 million or 6.8%.

Year-to-date annual total import value amounted to $137.16 billion, equivalent to a 17.3% growth from $116.88 billion recorded in 2021.

Exports saw a 9.7% decrease to $5.667 billion from $6.278 billion in December 2021, also lower than the $7.100 billion increase recorded in November.

Six of the 10 major commodity groups posted annual decreases — coconut oil by 39.5%; chemicals by 24.7%; electronic products by 13.9%; other manufactured goods by 9.8%; metal components by 3.0%; and electronic equipment and parts by 2.7%.

Expansions were recorded in the exports of cathodes and sections of cathodes which climbed by 69.1%; ignition wiring sets and other wiring sets by 24.0%; other mineral products by 13.2%; and machinery and transport equipment by 12.4%.

China also accounted for the highest export value for the month with $980.84 million or 17.3% of the total, followed by USA with $811.50 million or 14.3%; Japan with $793.58 million or 14.0%; Hong Kong with $569.93 million or 10.1%; and Singapore with $346.41 million or 6.1%.

Year-to-date annual export earnings stood at $78.84 billion, representing a 5.6% increase from $74.65 billion in 2021. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News