In January, imports increased by 11.4 percent year-on-year to USD 8.54 billion, compared to an upwardly revised 20 percent rise in December. It was the sixth straight month of growth in inbound shipments, driven by: industrial machinery and equipment (26 percent); iron and steel (25 percent); cereal and cereal preparations (22.9 perccnt); electronic products (18.9 percent); telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (13.5 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (11.4 percent); other food and live animals (9.6 percent), and plastics in primary and non-primary forms (5.2 percent). In contrast, imports dropped for both mineral fuels, lubricants and related material (-8.6 percent) and transport equipment (-0.1 percent).
Inbound shipments from China, the Philippine’s biggest source of purchases, grew by 3.5 percent. Also, imports went up from: South Korea (53.3 percent); the US (25.1 percent); Japan (4.2 percent); the ASEAN countries (4.4 percent) and the EU countries (13.2 percent).
Sales inched up 0.5 percent to USD 5.22 billion, following a downwardly revised 2.3 percent rise in a month earlier. It was the weakest growth in outbound shipments since a decline in November 2016, as sales increased for: gold (358.7 percent); machinery and transport equipment (23.6 percent); metal components (18.9 percent), and electronic equipment and parts (18.3 percent). Sales of electronic products, the country’s top exports, also expanded by 10.8 percent. In contrast, sales fell for: chemicals (-52.0 percent); coconut oil (-34.2 percent); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (-25 percent) and other manufactured goods (-21 percent).
Exports rose to Japan (0.7 percent); China (17.7 percent); Hong Kong (37.1 percent) and the ASEAN countries (1.2 percent). In contrast, sales declined to the US (-12.2 percent); Singapore (-2 percent) and the EU countries (-11.5 percent).
In December 2017, the trade deficit was a downwardly revised to USD 3.84 billion.