Trade deficit down in February

MANILA: The country’s trade deficit went down by 6 percent in February this year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Preliminary data released on Thursday showed that the balance of trade in goods or the difference between the value of exports and imports posted a deficit of USD3.65 billion from USD3.88 billion in February last year.

Total export sales during the month grew by 15.7 percent to USD5.91 billion from USD5.10 billion in 2023.

“The commodity group with the highest annual increment in the value of exports in February 2024 was electronic products with USD723.86 million. This was followed by other mineral products with an annual increase of USD79.54 million, and coconut oil with an annual increment of USD44.44 million,” the PSA said.

By major trading partner, exports to the United States comprised the highest export value amounting to USD947.83 million which accounts for about 16 percent of the total exports.

Other major export trading partners include Japan, Hong Kong, the People’s
Republic of China, and Thailand.

The total value of imported goods, meanwhile, amounted to USD9.55 billion, up by 6.3 percent from the USD8.98 billion in the same month last year.

The PSA said imports of metalliferous ores and metal scrap recorded the highest annual increase in the value of imported goods at USD219 million.

This was followed by cereals and cereal preparations, which grew by USD137.23 million, and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with an annual increase of USD131.71 million.

China was the country’s largest supplier of imported goods valued at USD2.18 billion, or 22.8 percent of the country’s total imports in February 2024.

Other top sources of imports include Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.

“February trade data showed a strong bounce for exports, rising 15.7% YoY (year-on-year), largely on the back of the mainstay electronics subcategory,” ING senior economist Nicholas Mapa said in a comment.

Mapa said the surge in electronics shipments is in line with a similar re
covery enjoyed by regional trading partners, with demand for basic chipsets likely tracking the gains for higher value-added electronics.

“The strong gain for the export sector should help support overall GDP (gross domestic product) performance for the first quarter of the year. Although heavily dependent on the electronics subsector, the stark pickup in outbound shipments helped move the trade surplus into a less pronounced trade deficit,” he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency