Trade deficit widens as imports increase

By Inquirer.net February 11,2018

A SUSTAINED double-digit jump in imports and a continued decline in merchandise exports widened the trade deficit to a record-high $4.02 billion in December.

Preliminary data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Friday showed that the value of imported goods last December jumped 17.6 percent to $8.74 billion.

On the other hand, exports of Philippine-made goods that month declined 4.9 percent to $4.72 billion.

The total external trade in goods rose 8.6 percent to $13.46 billion in December last year.

The country’s Chief Economist, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, earlier said that the sustained wider trade in goods deficit was “not good, but transitory and manageable.”

Economic managers have said that as the Duterte administration embarks on its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program alongside expectations of sustained strong economic growth, demand for imports would remain robust in the near term.

The surge in imports, however, reversed the current account to a deficit, which had the market worried and pulled the peso weaker in recent months.

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