Amid global recovery, the country’s merchandise exports grew by double digits in August, but the expansion was still short to outpace the strong growth in imports that resulted in a wider trade-in-goods deficit.

Manila International Container Terminal 1

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday, Oct. 12, that the country registered a trade gap of $3.577 billion last August, higher by 64 percent compared with $2.179 billion in the same month last year.

The Philippine purchases of goods from abroad, or imports, rose 31 percent to $10.043 billion during the month from $7.679 billion a year ago.

Purchases of electronics, which accounts for 27.9 percent of the total import bill, rose 18.5 percent to $2.8 billion over last year’s.

The growth in electronics imports, which are used to assemble the country’s major dollar-earning product, indicate manufacturers expect growth in exports in the coming months.

Moreover, imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials surged 116.2 percent to $1.3 billion year-on-year.

The People’s Republic of China continued to be the top source of imports with $2.36 billion, followed by Japan, $920.67 million and South Korea, $796.89 million.

Other major sources of imports for the month were Thailand, $651.92 million; United States, $645.57 million; Indonesia, $611.8 million; Singapore, $563.6 million; Taiwan, $503.9 million; Malaysia, $468.5 million; and Vietnam, $322.5 million.

Meanwhile, shipments of Philippine-made goods abroad, or exports, grew 17.6 percent to $6.466 billion from $5.499 billion in the same month last year.

Electronics, which accounted for 57.1 percent of the total dollar receipts in August, rose 41.8 percent to $3.69 billion, followed by other manufactured goods with $374.42 million.

Rounding up the list of the country’s top exports for August were other mineral products, $294.6 million; machinery and transport equipment, $214.8 million; and petroleum products, ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships, $210.6 million.

The People’s Republic of China continued to be the top market with purchases of $1.049 billion, while United States came next with $1.024 billion, followed by Japan, $940.5 million and Hong Kong, $930.8 million.

Other top markets during the period were the Singapore, $392.1 million; Thailand, $304.9 million; Germany, $276.1 million; Taiwan, $208.6 million; Republic of Korea, $182.6 million; and The Netherlands, $164.1 million.

Year-to-date, imports and exports have risen 31.1 percent and 19.9 percent, respectively. These numbers exceeded the Development and Budget Coordinating Committee full-year targets for imports and exports of 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Source: Manila Bulletin (