The Philippine trade deficit widened in March even as exports contracted at a faster pace than imports, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday revealed.
Data released by the PSA showed that the balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) posted a deficit of $4.927 billion in March, higher than the $3.905 billion in February and $4.585 billion in March 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 $6.528 billion, 9.1% lower than the $7.182 billion the same month last year, but higher than the $5.078 billion in February.
The biggest drops were recorded in electronic products, which fell $479.41 million; coconut oil, which $51.82 million; travel goods and handbags, down $34.69 million; miscellaneous manufactured articles, down $30.70 million; and other manufactured goods down $30.68 million.
Manufactured goods contributed 78.3% or $5.11 billion to the total exports in March, followed by mineral products with 11.8% or $770.37 million, and total agro-based products with 7.1% or $466.31 million.
Exports to China comprised the highest value, amounting to $1.42 billion or 21.8%. It was followed by Japan with $980.34 million, the United States of America with $877.89 million, Hong Kong with $550.85 million, and Singapore with $371.72 million.
Imports recorded a 2.7% drop to $11.455 billion from $11.768 billion the same month last year, but higher than the $8.983 billion in February.
The steepest declines were seen in mineral fuels which fell by $519.28 million, electronic products by $415.29 million, medicinal and pharmaceutical products by $221.01 million, organic and inorganic chemicals by $66.51 million, and animal and vegetable oils and fats by $58.63 million.
Electronic products recorded the highest imported value with $2.34 billion or 20.4%, followed by mineral fuels at $1.66 billion or 14.5%, and transport equipment with $1.02 billion or 8.9%.
China was also the biggest supplier of imported goods to the Philippines with $2.57 billion or 22.4%, Indonesia with $1.09 billion, Japan with $958.96 million, Korea with $780.55 million, and Thailand with $770.95 million.
The latest figures brought the country’s total trade for the month to $17.983 billion, 5.1% lower than the $18.951 billion last March but higher than the $14.602 billion in February. —KBK, GMA Integrated News