MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The importation of aircraft by local legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and a pick up in purchases by electronics sector pushed imports up double-digit in June.
Government data on Tuesday, August 28, showed that import payments during the month reached US$5.1 billion, a 13.3% increase, the highest since the 13.79% growth in August 2011.
This brings import payments for the first 6 months of the year to US$30.76 billion, a mere 0.4% increase following previous months of declines.
Meantime, electronic products posted its first positive growth for 2012 at 28.6%. The sector has not posted positive growth since May 2011.
Boeing for PAL
"The expansion was brought about by importation of aircraft and higher import purchases of motor vehicles, its parts and accessories," the National Statistics Office (NSO) said in a statement.
The NSO noted that transport equipment posted the highest year-on-year change of 200.2% among the top 10 imports.
Import value for transport equipment reached $639.48 million from $213.03 million from a year ago.
Due to the single purchase of aircrafts, however, the United States made a comeback as the country's top import source in June.
Imports from the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, accounted for 15.7% of total imports. $803.42 million, an increase of 74.7 percent from $460.02 million in June 2011.
The US beat Japan and China in June as the country's top import source. Japan and China only accounted for 11.9% and 10.7% of the total, respectively.
Without the planes
PAL is implementing a refleeting program meant to improve efficiency and lower costs. In June, one of the three Boeing B777-300ER aircraft was delivered. PAL uses the 370-seater aircraft to fly to Vancouver, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan (via Cebu).
The 4th aircraft will be delivered later this 2012, while the last two B777 will arrive in 2013.
If there weren't imports of PAL planes, the country's the pace of growth of imports would slow down but not post a contraction in June.
Economist from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Cid L. Terosa and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) National Planning and Policy Staff Director Rosemarie Edillon both said imports would have only posted a growth below 10%.
"Without the importation of transport equipment, I believe import growth would have been lower than 13.3%. The unusual growth of transport equipment imports has pushed up import growth," Terosa said.
Edillon explained that imports would still post growth even without the aircrafts because the aircraft purchase was less than 7% of total imports.
Neda Deputy Director General for Planning Emmanuel Eguerra said the share of transport equipment in total imports was only 12.5% in June.
This means, Esguerra said, imports of electronic products still accounted for 28.6% or almost a third of all imports. This, in turn, could still bode well for the country's exports in the coming months. - Rappler.com