DOMESTIC TRADE in goods fell 52.4% by value year on year in the fourth quarter, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Thursday.

According to the PSA’s preliminary Commodity Flow in the Philippines report, the value of trade goods in last three months of 2023 fell to P137.71 billion, with the contraction accelerating from 16.7% in the previous quarter.

This was also a reversal from the 63.2% growth to P289.57 billion posted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

According to the PSA, domestic trade by value is the outflow value of commodities transported from the place of origin to the destination.

Volume of trade in the fourth quarter decreased to 3.24 million tons, down 48.6% from the preceding quarter.

This was also lower than the 6.31 million tons posted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Commodity flow includes all goods transported by water, air, and rail transport, with shipping accounting for the bulk of the commodities.

All the 10 commodity groups monitored by the PSA dropped in trade value mainly led by beverages and tobacco (-79.2%). This was followed by chemicals and related products (-78.9%); manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials (-74.7%); miscellaneous manufactured articles (-73.1%); food and live animals (-57.6%); animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes (-54.2%); commodities and transaction not classified elsewhere in the PSCC (-47.6%); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (38.3%); machinery and transport equipment (-26.9%); and crude materials, inedible, except fuels -0.4%).

Machinery and transport equipment posted the top value of all traded commodities amounting to P62.16 billion, accounting for 45.1% of the total. Food and live animals amounted to P31.93 billion (23.2%) and manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials P11.99 billion (8.7%).

Western Visayas posted the largest trade balance in the fourth quarter of P10.25 billion, on inflows of P10 billion and outflows of P20.26 billion.

Central Visayas posted the top trade value at P34.77 billion in the fourth quarter. It also posted the highest inflows at P31.10 billion.

The trade balance is the difference between outflows and inflows. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo