THE COUNTRY’S TRADE in merchandise goods continued to rebound in May as both exports and imports grew, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary PSA data showed merchandise exports during the month went up by 29.8% year on year to $5.89 billion. This was slower than the revised 74.1% expansion in April but marked a turnaround from the 26.7% decline in May 2020.

Meanwhile, merchandise imports expanded by 47.7% to $8.65 billion, compared with a revised 152.8% surge in April and the 40.5% fall last year.

May marked the third and fourth consecutive month of growth for exports and imports, respectively.

The trade deficit stood at $2.76 billion in May. This was smaller than the $3.08-billion shortfall in April but was bigger than the $1.31-billion gap in May 2020.

Year to date, the trade balance widened to a $14.18-billion deficit, wider than the $9.95-billion trade gap in last year’s comparable five months.

For the same five-month period, exports and imports grew by an annual 21.4% (to $29.35 billion) and 27.6% (to $43.53 billion), respectively. Both figures surpassed the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s revised growth targets for export and imports at 8% and 12% for the year. — Lourdes O. Pilar