By Christine Joyce S. Castaneda
Trade activity softened in November as exports declined while imports slowed.
Preliminary results from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed merchandise exports declining 0.3% to $5.569 billion in November, a reversal from the growth performances of 5.5% in October and 14.2% in November 2017. The November reading snapped five straight months of export growth in 2018.
Meanwhile, import payments rose 6.8% year on year to $9.469 billion in November, easing from the double-digit growth of 21.4% in October and 20.1% in November 2017.
This brought the country’s trade deficit to $3.901 billion, an increase from $3.280 billion a year ago.
To date, exports contracted by 0.9% to $62.767 billion against the two-percent target of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) for full-year 2018.
On the other hand, imports grew 15.8% to $100.455 billion versus the DBCC’s nine percent projection for the year.
Cumulatively, the country’s trade balance posted a $37.687 billion deficit, much bigger than the $23.408 billion shortfall during 2017’s comparable eleven months.
The United States is the Philippines’ top export market in November with a 16% share at $893.20 million followed by Japan’s 14.7% ($819.07 million) and Hong Kong’s 13.1% ($729.01 million).
Meanwhile, China was the country’s top source of imports with an 18.7% share ($1.766 billion) followed by Korea’s 10.9% ($1.03 billion) and Japan’s 9.5% ($903.28 million).