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December exports dip, imports up

December exports dip, imports up

TEN countries provided 77 percent of all imports that reached the Philippines in December 2017, led by China (18.9 percent), Korea (10.7 percent), and Japan (9.5 percent); combined, the top 10 countries’ bill reached US$6.77 billion. Raw materials and intermediate goods made up nearly 36 percent of Philippine imports (and cost $3.13 billion) For a third month in a row, the Philippines imported more than it exported in December 2017.

Export receipts dropped by nearly five percent to US$4.72 billion last Christmas, from $4.97 billion in December 2016. Imports, however, shot up by 17.6 percent to $8.74 billion last December, from $7.43 billion in the same month the year before.

The country’s trade deficit amounted to $4.02 billion at the end of the year, higher than the $2.47 billion in December 2016, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The report showed increased exports of gold, refined copper cathodes, machinery or transport equipment, and electronic equipment or parts. But exports of coconut oil, ignition wiring sets, other manufactured goods, and metal components dropped in December 2017 from the same month in 2016.

 “Electronic products continued to be the country’s top export with total earnings of $2.86 billion, accounting for 60.6 percent share of the total exports revenue in December 2017,” the PSA report. Electronics exports were also 15 percent higher in December 2017 than in December 2016. Among electronic products, semiconductors accounted for 45.6 percent and earned the country some $2.15 billion in December 2017. That was nearly 19 percent more than the amount of semiconductors exported in December 2016.

 Yet electronic products were also the country’s top import, and the bill for that reached $8.74 billion last December, up by 17.6 percent from December 2016. In terms of imports, the Philippines bought more mineral fuels, electronic products, telecommunication equipment, iron and steel, transport equipment, plastics, and industrial machinery in December 2017. Raw materials and intermediate goods represented 35.8 percent of total imports, the largest share.

More capital goods

Capital goods imports also went up in December 2017 to $2.89 billion or about 33 percent of all imports. That was 8.4 percent more than the amount of capital goods imported in December 2016.

Eight months out of 12, the Philippines’ import bill was larger than its export receipts in 2017.

In December 2017, more than half of the country’s imports came from China ($1.65 billion or 18.9 percent), South Korea ($935.98 million or 10.7 percent), Japan ($826.15 million or about 9.5 percent), the United States ($648.41 million or 7. 4 percent), and Thailand ($596.85 million or about 6.8 percent).

Hong Kong bought nearly 17 percent of all Philippine exports in December 2017, for a total bill of US$789.61 million. That was 27.3 percent higher than what Hong Kong paid the Philippines in export receipts in December 2016. The other top five destinations for Philippine exports last Christmas were the United States ($655.14 million or about 13.9 percent of all exports); Japan ($636.62 million or 13.5 percent); China ($517.84 million or 11 percent); and Singapore ($324.38 million or 6.9 percent). (IDA) 

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