Philippines' trade deficit widens by 47.6% in May 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The country's trade deficit further widened by 47.6% in May 2018, reaching a 5-month high of $3.7 billion, said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday, July 10.

Exports declined by 3.8% to $5.8 billion in May 2018, worse than the 2.4% recorded during the same month last year.

Imports further increased by 11.4% to $9.5 billion, from $8.5 billion year-on-year.

A trade deficit, also referred to as a negative balance of trade, means the country's imports exceeded its exports. This occurs when a country does not produce enough goods for residents or when there is very strong domestic demand.

An increase of imported goods may mean lower prices of goods, but it could hurt certain sectors in the long run and lead to fewer jobs.

The trade gap could also put further pressure on the Philippine peso, Asia's second worst performing currency just next to the Indian rupee. 

The Philippines imported the most goods from China, comprising 20.3% of the market share for May at $1.9 billion. South Korea accounted for 10.3% ($978.6 million), followed by Japan with 10.3% ($901.3 million), the United States at 7.3% ($689.7 million), and Thailand at 6.9% ($580.3 million). 

Completing the list of major sources of imports were Indonesia ($586.4 million), Taiwan ($498.8 million), Malaysia ($333.9 million), and Hong Kong ($282.6 million).

The US was the country's top export market in May, raking in 14.6% of the market share at $840.2 million. Others with top export values were Hong Kong with $796.5 million (13.8%), China with $761.4 million (13.2%), Japan with $756.3 million (13.1%), and Singapore with $366.4 million (6.4%). 

Rounding up the top 10 market destinations for May were South Korea ($274.3 million), Germany ($235.1 million), Thailand ($229.9 million), Taiwan ($212.4 million), and the Netherlands ($206.1 million).

The country purchased mostly electronic products, mineral fuels and related materials, transport equipment, and iron and steel abroad. 

As for exports, the country sent mostly manufactured goods, agro-based products, minerals, forest products, and petroleum goods. – 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.

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