Trade-in-goods deficit narrows in May

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The country’s trade-in-goods deficit decreased in May as exports grew while imports contracted, the government reported this morning.

Preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed the May trade deficit at $3.275 billion from a $3.88-billion deficit in the same month last year.

Merchandise export receipts grew by one percent to $6.155 billion in May, matching the pace recorded in April albeit lower than the 1.7% growth in May 2018.

On the other hand, import payments contracted 5.4% year on year to $9.43 billion during the month, worsening from a 1.9% decline observed in April. This also marked a reversal from the 17.4% growth in May 2018.

The import decline was the biggest since the 5.8% contraction in April 2015.

To date, merchandise exports were down 1.3% to $28.106 billion against the six-percent growth target of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) for full-year 2019.

On the other hand, import of goods grew one percent to $44.613 billion on a cumulative basis against the DBCC’s nine-percent projection for the year.

Consequently, this brought the year-to-date trade balance to a $16.508 billion deficit, bigger than the $15.682-billion shortfall in 2018’s comparable five months.

The United States was the Philippines’ top export market in May with a 17.6% share at $1.081 billion followed by China’s 14.6% ($896.95 million) and Japan’s 14% ($862.15 million) market shares.

The same month saw China as the Philippines’ top source of imports with a 22.8% share at $2.145 billion followed by Japan’s 8.7% ($822.32 million) and South Korea’s eight percent ($750.06 million). — Marissa Mae M. Ramos