The country’s trade deficit doubled in May this year as imports expansion outweighed exports growth during the month, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

Preliminary report by the PSA revealed on Friday, July 9, that the gap in the trade balance, or the difference between the value of export and import, widened by 110 percent to $2.75 billion from $1.31 billion in the same month last year.

The May deficit, however, is lower compared with $3.08 billion in April.

During the month, exports grew by 30 percent year-on-year while imports jumped 48 percent.

Exports receipts amounted to $5.89 billion from $4.54 billion in May 2020.

Of the top 10 major commodity exports of the country, nine recorded annual increases led by ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships, which expanded by 221 percent.

Moreover, exports of metal components rose 151 percent, while cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper increased 135 percent.

By major trading partner, exports to China comprised the highest value amounting to $954.3 million, followed by the US with $918.1 million, Japan with $829 million, Hong Kong with $792.05 million and Singapore with $324.95 million.

In January to May, total exports improved 21 percent to $29.35 billion.

Meanwhile, the value of the country’s imports reached $8.65 billion in May, up from $5.85 billion a year ago.

Based on the PSA data, most of the imported goods were electronic products valued at $2.39 billion, followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials at $973.6 million, and transport equipment amounting to $585 million.

China is still the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods valued at $2.21 billion.

Completing the top five major import trading partners were Japan with $758.91 million, South Korea with $615.09 million, Indonesia with $601.04 million and the US with $584.84 million.

At end-May, total imports reached $43.53 billion, representing an increase of 27.6 percent from $34.12 billion in the same period in 2020.

In May, the Philippines’ total external trade in goods grew 40 percent to $14.54 billion from only $10.39 billion in the previous year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (