Source: Philippine Statistics Authority

THE COUNTRY’S trade-in-goods deficit widened in November as merchandise import growth continued to outpace the growth in exports, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported earlier this morning.

Preliminary PSA data showed the value of merchandise exports grew by 6.6% to $6.27 billion.

This was higher than the 4.6% increase in the same month in 2020 and the 2% growth in October 2021.

November’s export growth was the highest in three months or since August’s 18.9% expansion.

Meanwhile, the country’s merchandise imports rose by 36.8% to $10.98 billion in November. This marked a turnaround from the 13.5% fall in November 2020 but faster than the 25.1% import growth in October 2021.

This was the highest import print in five months or since the 43.4% growth in June.

This brought the trade-in-goods deficit to $4.71 billion in November, wider than the $2.14-billion shortfall recorded in the same month last year, as well as the $4.11-billion gap in October.

Year to date, the trade balance ballooned to a $37.92-billion deficit, from a $22.15-billion trade gap in 2020’s comparable 11 months.

For the 11-month period, exports grew by 15.2% year on year to $68.37 billion, below the revised 16% growth projected by the Development Budget and Coordination Committee for 2021.

Imports during the same period climbed by 30.4% to $106.30 billion. This pace was slightly above the government’s also revised 30% assumption. — Lourdes O. Pilar