Philippines Imports Exports Trade Deficit

Philippines Posts Trade Deficit of $4.01 Billion for December, Lowest in 4 Months

In the latest government data released on Friday, the Philippines reported a trade deficit of $4.01 billion for the month of December, marking its narrowest gap in four months.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that imports in December witnessed a decline of 5.1%, totaling $9.8 billion compared to the previous year. Exports, on the other hand, registered a 0.5% drop, amounting to $5.8 billion.

Notably, this decline in exports is the slowest drop since the market uptick observed in August.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan expressed confidence in the potential for economic growth. NEDA anticipates an improvement on the 5.9% expansion reported during the third quarter of 2023.

Speaking at an annual reception for the banking community in Manila, Balisacan stated, “I haven’t seen the numbers but [I] hope it will be good because our leading indicators are good, like the labor market.”

Inflation problems to trade

Despite challenges posed by high inflation, Balisacan emphasized the importance of domestic consumption in driving growth. He underscored that while trade may have declined, the domestic component of the GDP remains robust. Subsequently, he added that this provide a foundation for economic stability.

Balisacan also expressed support for amending the constitution, particularly in areas related to restrictive economic provisions. He emphasized that these amendments would encourage foreign investments and promote competition. Moreover, these will enhance the Philippines’ attractiveness in the global economic landscape.

Major trading partners included Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, China, and South Korea. China emerged as the largest supplier of imported goods, followed by Japan, Indonesia, the United States, and Thailand.

For the full year 2023, total exports declined by 7.6% to $73.52 billion. On the other hand, imports contracted by 8.2% to $125.95 billion. This resulted in a full-year trade deficit of $52.43 billion, a reduction from the previous year’s $57.64 billion deficit.

Economists attributed these trends to global factors, such as higher interest rates and fluctuations in oil and commodity prices, impacting both Philippine imports and exports.

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