THE COUNTRY’S exports and imports continued to decline in May by double digits, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary PSA trade data showed merchandise exports shrank by 35.6% year on year to $3.99 billion compared to a 49.9% decline in April and a 1.8% growth in May 2019.

Likewise, merchandise imports plummeted 40.6% to $5.85 billion versus the declines of 65.3% in April and 1.2% in May last year.

The May figures marked the 13th and third straight month of decline for imports and exports, respectively.

Exports of goods from January to May figured in at $22.56 billion, down by 20.7% compared to the $28.43 billion in 2019’s comparable five months. This was way below the revised four percent contraction expected this year by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

Likewise, merchandise imports dropped 29.9% to $32.4 billion on a cumulative basis against the DBCC’s target of a 5.5% contraction for the year.

The trade deficit in May was recorded at $1.87 billion, narrower than the $3.65-billion shortfall a year ago. On a cumulative basis, the trade balance logged in a $9.84-billion deficit, smaller than the $17.79-billion deficit in the same five months last year. – Marissa Mae M. Ramos