Agriculture trade deficit widens in Q1 2018

Ralf Rivas
The Philippine Statistics Authority says the Philippines' agricultural imports rose while exports declined, which widened the trade deficit by 41% to $1.83 billion

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s agriculture trade deficit further expanded in the 1st quarter of 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA said the deficit in external trade widened by 41% to $1.83 billion from $1.29 billion in the same period last year. This is the widest agriculture trade deficit since 2016.

A trade deficit occurs when a country’s imports exceeds its exports. More imports lead to lower prices of goods in the local market and helps reduce inflation. (READ: Gov’t now expects 2018 inflation to reach as high as 4.5%)

However, a trade deficit may lead to fewer jobs due to tight competition between local and imported goods.

The total inbound and outbound shipments of agricultural goods fell 6.6% to $4.16 billion in the 1st quarter from $4.45 billion year-on-year. 

Agricultural exports went down by 26.2% to $1.17 billion from January to March 2018 compared to $1.58 billion in the same period last year.

Agricultural imports were up by 4.2% which amounted to $2.99 billion in the 1st quarter compared to $2.87 billion a year ago.

The Philippines incurred the widest deficit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at $877.25 million, followed by the United States at $362.01 million, Australia at $167.94 million, and the European Union at $10.3 million.

Meanwhile, agricultural trade with Japan hit a surplus amounting to $122.78 million.

Animal and vegetable oils remained the Philippines’ top agricultural product and accounted for 26.6% of the total exports, valued at $310.2 million.

Meanwhile, cereals led agricultural imports with a value of $568.8 million or 19% of the total share. – Rappler.com 

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.