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PHL foreign trade decline continues in October

PHILIPPINE international trade performance shrank in October as imports declined for the 18th straight month while exports returned to negative territory.

Preliminary data by the PSA showed merchandise exports in October contracted by 2.2% year on year to $6.202 billion, compared with a revised 2.9% growth in September and a flat 0.5% growth in October 2019.

Meanwhile, merchandise imports shrank for the 18th straight month in October by 19.5% to $7.979 billion. This was worse compared with contractions of 15.3% and 7.6% in September 2020 and October 2019, respectively.

Trade deficit for the month stood at $1.777 billion, lower than $1.783 billion in September 2020 and $3.573 billion in October 2019.

The country’s total external trade in goods – or the sum of export and import goods – was $14.181 billion in October, down 12.8% from $16.256 billion. This brought the total trade in the 10-month period to $122.151 billion, 20.2% lower than $153.159 billion a year ago.

For the 10 months to October, exports fell by 12.5% to $52.113 billion compared with the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s (DBCC) projection of a 16% fall for the year.

Meanwhile, October imports amounted to $70.038 billion, lower by 25.2% from last year’s $93.605 billion. The decline during the period was beyond the DBCC’s revised target of a 20% contraction for 2020.

Year to date, the trade balance amounted to a $17.924-billion deficit, narrower than the $34.052-billion trade gap in 2019’s comparable ten months. – Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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