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Philippine trade deficit narrower in February

The country’s trade deficit narrowed in February as exports contracted at a faster pace than imports, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday.

Data released by the PSA showed that the balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) posted a $3.88 billion deficit in February, lower than the $5.733 billion deficit in January and the $3.984 billion deficit in February 2022.

A deficit indicates that the value of a country's imports exceeded export receipts, while a surplus indicates more export shipments than imports.

Exports for the month stood at $5.078 billion, 18.1% lower than the $6.201 billion a year ago, and lower than the $5.254 billion in January.

The biggest decline was seen in the export of electronics which fell by $765.48 million to $2.678 billion, followed by coconut oil by $156.54 million to $70.99 million; other mineral products by $126.51 million to $129.03 million; cathodes by $68.03 million to $134.21 million; and travel goods and handbags by $25.96 million to $39.57 million.

Japan was the country’s biggest trading partner for exports during the month, accounting for $822.65 million. It was followed by the USA with $756.00 million, China with $611.59 million, Hong Kong with $526.86 million, and Singapore with $310.60 million.

Imports posted a 12.1% decrease to $8.954 billion from $10.185 billion the same month last year, and lower than the $10.987 billion in January.

The steepest decline was seen in the import of electronic products down $356.38 million to $2.134 billion; transport equipment by $166.52 million to $818.24 million; cereals by $165.84 million to $231.86 million; iron and steel by $104.80 million to $273.93 million; and chemical materials by $60.98 million to $125.19 million.

China accounted for the biggest share of imported goods to the Philippines with $1.93 billion or 21.6% of the total. Indonesia followed with $917.76 million, Japan with $788.35 million, the USA with $648.81 million, and South Korea with $593.22 million.

The latest figures brought the total external trade to $14.032 billion in February, down 14.4% from $16.387 billion in February 2022, and from $16.241 billion in January 2023. —VAL, GMA Integrated News