Electronics continue 2-year decline in total import share
MANILA, Philippines - The country merchandise electronic product imports continued its gradual decline in its share to total imports in July, according to data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Tuesday, September 25.
In its External Trace Performance report, the NSO said electronic product imports accounted for $1.22 billion of the $4.96 billion total import bill in July.
Data showed that the share of electronic product shipments to total imports have gradually declined to 24.6% or close to a fifth of the country's total import bill in July.
NSO data showed that imports of electronic products started to decline in 2010. Imports used to account for as much as 40% of total imports in January 2009 and translated to almost double the share in terms of exports vis-a-vis total export earnings.
At the time when imports of electronic products accounted for more than 30%, the share of electronic products versus total exports was more than 50%.
Flat import performance
The NSO said total merchandise imports for July 2012 declined by 0.8% to $4.964 billion from $5.001 billion. It also contracted by 2.5% compared to previous month’s level to $5.089 billion.
Aggregate imports posted a growth of 0.2% to $35.712 billion value in the first 7 months of 2012 from $35.655 billion for the same period in 2011.
The report stated that imports payment for Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials posted a 12.3% decline to $1.152 billion from $1.313 billion. The sector posted the biggest decline in import growth among major import sectors.
The sector ranked second among the top 10 imports with a 23.2% share to total imports, almost the size of electronic imports. Imports of Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials declined by 12.3% to $1.152 billion from $1.313 billion.
"The contraction in value may be attributed to the 1.9% decrease in volume of inward shipments," the NSO noted.
Japan including Okinawa was the country’s biggest source of imports in July 2012 with 11.6% share worth $573.57 million. The NSO said the increase in the inward purchases from Japan was based on imported commodities like wafers and discs, electrically circuit-programmed, whether or not coated on one side with gold or aluminum.
The other top import sources of the country in July were the People’s Republic of China with a 10.9% share worth $538.81 million and the United States of America (USA) including Alaska and Hawaii which accounted for 10.1% worth $501.28 million.
Targets may not be attained
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that with the import numbers, it is likely that the Philippines will not attain its target and may even register negative import growth this year.
Diokno said given the meager January to July import growth of 0.2%, the government may not achieve its import target of 12% this year.
He said if it weren't for the sharp increase in imports of aircraft, ships and boats, which grew by 209.6%, imports would be in the red by now. Imports of passenger cars and motorized motorcycle soared by 25.2%.
Diokno added that the more than 30% decline in the import of materials needed for the manufacture of electronic products also does not bode well for export growth in the coming months.
"The level of imports is a leading indicator of future growth. The 38.4% contraction in imports of materials for the manufacturing of electronic equipment does not bode well for strong exports in electronics in particular and overall exports in general," Diokno said. - Rappler.com