PH exports recovered in Nov. 2020 but total trade still down

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Exports returned to year-on-year growth in November last year even as the prolonged imports slump pulled the Philippines’ total foreign trade down by 10.6 percent to $13.31 billion that month.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed merchandise exports inched up 3 percent to $5.79 billion in November, reversing the 1.2-percent decline the previous month. Exports first made a comeback in September with a 2.9-percent growth as trade partners eased border restrictions and economies like China quickly bounced back from pandemic-induced losses.

In November, shipments of refined copper cathodes, gold, coconut oil, ignition wiring sets, metal components, chemicals and electronic products led the export recovery.

The top destinations of Philippine-made goods during the month in review were the United States, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

On the other hand, imports continued to fall for the 16th straight month as shipments dropped 18.9 percent year-on-year to $7.52 billion.

“The annual decrement of imported goods in November 2020 was due to the decrease in all top 10 major import commodities. The annual rate of decline was the fastest in transport equipment (down 42.7 percent). This was followed by industrial machinery and equipment (down 32.6 percent); and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (down 30.2 percent),” the PSA said in a report.

China remained the Philippines’ top source of imported products, followed by Japan, the United States, Indonesia and South Korea.

From January to November last year, cumulative exports shrank 11.1 percent year-on-year to $57.97 billion, while imports slid by a faster 24.5 percent to $77.63 billion.

In November alone, the bigger drop in still sizeable imports coupled with meager exports growth narrowed the balance of trade-in-goods to $1.73 billion from $3.65 billion a year ago and $1.79 billion in October. —Ben O. de Vera


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