10-mo PH imports growth below 1%

Imports continue to recover in October as the fourth quarter begins

MANILA, Philippines – The country imported 4.3% more in October, the highest growth in 4 months, according to data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Friday, December 28. 

The NSO said import receipts increased to US$5.240 billion from $5.024 billion on the back of higher imports of Electronic Products, Metalliferous Ores and Metal Scrap, and Cereals and Cereal Preparations. 

Other products that pushed up import growth are Transport Equipment, Telecommunication, Equipment and Electrical Machinery, and Industrial Machinery and Equipment.

However, the growth was not enough to pull up total import growth for the year which was below 1% in the January to October period of 2012. 

The NSO said imports increased by 0.9% to $51.275 billion in January to October this year from $50.839 billion in the same period of 2011.

The biggest blow to the country’s import growth this year was April when imports contracted by 13.6%, which was the lowest since October 2009 when imports plummeted to a contraction of 16.81%. 

While May and June 2012 both posted double-digit growth of 10.1% and 13%, respectively, these were short-lived. Among the main reasons for the double-digit growth at that time were the new planes imported by Philippine Airlines. 

These two months were followed again by two months of contractions. July and August posted contractions of 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively. The slight recovery of imports started in September when imports posted a growth of 3.6%. 

Top imports

Electronic products continued to be the main import of the Philippines. It accounted for 25.7% of the country’s total import bill with payments rising by 8.7% to $1.345 billion reported value from $1.237 billion in October 2011.

The biggest electronic product that the country ships from across the globe are Semiconductors which accounts for 19.7% of the country’s total import bill. It posted a 4.2% increase to to $1.034 billion from $885.59 million.

“Reduced volume of shipments both for electronic products and semiconductors were recorded at 3.5% and 14.2% respectively for the period in review [January to October 2012],” the NSO said. 

Other top imports which posted the most gains in October were:

  • Metalliferous Ores and Metal Scrap – 326.4%
  • Cereals and Cereal Preparations – 120.7%
  • Transport Equipment – 21.4%
  • Telecommunication, Equipment and Electrical Machinery – 9.5%
  • Industrial Machinery and Equipment – 4.6%

The Philippines payment for the country’s top 10 imports for October 2012 reached $3.986 billion or 76.1% of the total import bill.

Import sources

The country’s top import sources for October were the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and Japan which accounted for 11.5%, 11.3%, and 9.9% of the total import bill, respectively. 

Imports from the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, amounted to $603.96 million or an increase of 22.3% from last year’s value of $493.7 million. The NSO said the increase was due to an uptick in shipments of semiconductors and cereals and cereal preparations specifically wheat.

The country’s imports from China amounted to $589.97 million or a 23.3% increase from the $478.43 million recorded in October 2011. The growth, the NSO said, was due to higher shipments of telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials.

Imports from Japan including Okinawa amounted to $518.91 million, a 14.6% contraction from last year’s $607.45 million. The main driver of import growth were semiconductors and transport equipment. – Rappler.com

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