THE COUNTRY’S trade-in-goods deficit widened in July as merchandise import growth outpaced the increase in exports, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary PSA data showed the value of merchandise exports increased by 12.7% year on year to $6.42 billion.

The July reading was a turnaround from the 8.9% drop in same month last year, albeit slower than the 18.8% growth seen in June 2021.

Meanwhile, the country’s import bill went up by 24% to $9.71 billion in July. This marked a reversal from the 20.8% contraction in July 2020 but was slower than the 43.4% import growth in June 2021.

This brought the country’s trade-in-goods deficit to $3.29 billion, wider than the $2.13-billion shortfall recorded in the same month last year.

Year to date, the trade balance widened to a $21.31-billion deficit, from a $13.51-billion trade gap in 2020’s comparable seven months.

For the same seven-month period, exports and imports grew by an annual 19.7% (to $42.39 billion) and 30.2% (to $63.70 billion), respectively. These surpassed the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s revised growth targets for exports and imports at 10% and 12% for the year, respectively. – B.T.M. Gadon