PH trade deficit widens to $5.678 billion in May

·2 min read

THE Philippines’ trade deficit widened in May as imports grew by over 30 percent during the month, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday revealed.

The balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) recorded a $5.678-billion deficit in May, higher than the $5.438-billion deficit in April and the $3.180-billion deficit in the same month last year.

A trade deficit indicates that the country imported more than it exported during a period, while a surplus indicates that the country exported more than it brought in goods from other countries.

PSA data further showed that imports hit $11.988 billion, up 31.4 percent from $9.121 billion in May 2021 and higher than the $11.490 billion recorded in the previous month.

The annual growth in imported goods was driven mainly by the increase in the value of all the top 10 major commodity groups, led by mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials, which climbed 128.7 percent.

This was followed by cereals and cereal preparations, up 65.7 percent; iron and steel, up 64.2 percent; transport equipment, up 51.1 percent; and plastics in primary and non-primary forms, up 17.3 percent.

Exports for the month grew at a slower annual rate of 6.2 percent to $6.309 billion from $5.941 billion in the same month last year. This also compares with the $6.141 billion in April.

Seven out of the 10 major commodity groups posted annual increases, led by coconut oil, which surged by 180.5 percent, other mineral products by 32.9 percent, and chemicals by 23.6 percent.

Total external trade for the month stood at $18.298 billion, up 21.5 percent from $15.063 billion in May, and higher than the $17.631 billion in April.

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