By Lourdes O. Pilar, Researcher
The country’s trade-in-goods deficit narrowed in February as exports grew by its fastest pace in six months on stronger demand, while growth in imports slowed.
February merchandise export receipts climbed 15% year on year to $6.159 billion, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed on Friday.
It picked up from the revised 9% growth in the previous month and a turnaround from the 1.4% decline in February last year. Export growth that month was the quickest in six months or since August’s 18.9% expansion.
The value of the outbound shipment of goods in February was the highest level in two months or since the $6.279 billion in December last year.
Meanwhile, the country’s merchandise import bill rose by 20.1% to $9.688 billion in February, easing from the revised 27.7% pace the previous month.
This was the slowest import growth in 12 months or since the 9% increase recorded in February last year.
February import value was the lowest level in nine months or since the $9.122 billion logged in May last year.
This brought the trade-in-goods deficit to $3.529 billion in February, wider than the $2.707-billion shortfall recorded in the same month last year, but narrower than the $4.716-billion gap in January.
It was the smallest trade deficit in six months or since the $3.522 billion in August 2021.
Year to date, the trade balance ballooned to a $8.245-billion deficit compared with the $5.586-billion trade gap last year.
For the two-month period, exports jumped by 11.9% year on year to $12.205 billion. This is beyond the 6% growth projected by the Development Budget Coordination Committee for this year.
Imports, on the other hand, climbed by 24% to $20.450 billion, already surpassing the government’s 10% target in 2022.
“Our earlier efforts to ensure 100% operating capacity for the export sector enabled the sector to meet the growth in global demand. Momentum picked up as well as we continued to develop more…
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