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Trade deficit continues to widen in February

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The Philippines’ trade deficit once again expanded in February as imports grew by double-digits while exports contracted during the month, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported this morning.

Exports declined 1.8% to $4.66 billion in February, a turnaround from the previous month’s revised 3.5% growth and the 8.7% growth in the same month last year. This was the worst turnout since the 4.5% decline logged in November 2016.

The latest merchandise export figure brought full-year receipts to $10.03 billion, up 1% from $9.93 billion in the same two months last year.

The country’s balance of trade in goods widened to a $3.06 billion deficit in February from $1.77 billion in February 2017 as imports grew by double-digits. The country’s import bill increased 18.6% to $7.72 billion in February, faster than the 11.4% seen in the previous month and 15.2% in February 2017.

So far, 2018 saw a 14.7% merchandise import growth, surpassing the 9% target set for the year.

The United States is the Philippines’ top export market in February with a 15.1% market share at $705.2 million followed by Japan’s 14.6% ($680.76 million) and Hong Kong’s 13.7% ($636.04 million) market shares.

Meanwhile, China was the country’s top source of imports with a 19.9% share in February ($1.54 billion) followed by Japan’s 10.4% ($804.61 million) and Korea’s 9.9% ($765.66 million) shares.