Trade gap widens in January

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The Philippines’ trade deficit in goods widened in January as exports decline while imports increase.

Preliminary data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the January trade deficit at $3.756 billion, higher than the $3.752 billion deficit in December 2018 and $3.163 billion in January 2018.

Merchandise exports receipts during the month was $5.279 billion, 1.7% less than the $5.373 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the country’s import bill grew by 5.8% to $9.035 billion in January from last year’s $8.536 billion.

Japan is the Philippines’ top export market for the month with a 16.8% market share at $884.95 million followed by the United States’ 15.8% share at $833.87 million and Hong Kong’s 12.2% share at $645.17 million.

Meanwhile, China was country’s top source of imports with a 22.2% share to total imports at $2.01 billion followed by South Korea’s 8.7% share at $789.56 million and Japan’s 8.7% share at $789 million. — Lourdes O. Pilar