Holiday demand drives import surge

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With the arrival of the “ber-months,” the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that the country’s importation rose by 7.2 percent year-on-year because of increased overseas buying of raw materials and intermediate goods needed for production of goods for the holidays.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the 7.2-percent increase in imports in September compared to the same period last year was from the “buoyant outlook” of firms on the country’s business environment, despite the consecutive natural disasters that threatened the country economy.

“The rise of importation in September 2013 mirrored the buoyant outlook of firms on the volume of business activities for the third and fourth quarters of the year. This is in anticipation of the increase in demand during the holiday season,” said Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director general.

From September 2012’s $5.3 billion, imports gained an additional $400 million to $5.7 billion because of the country’s increased spending and buying of raw materials and intermediate goods.


According to data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Tuesday, imports also grew by 3 percent compared to the previous month—from $5.5 billion in August to $5.7 billion in September—because of the rise in imports of five major commodity groups: transport equipment; electronic products; other food and live animals; iron and steel; and industrial machinery and equipment.

Also, combined imports for the first nine months of the year totaled $46.4 billion, which was 0.03-percent higher compared to the $46.3 billion recorded the same time last year.

On yearly basis, raw materials and intermediate goods drove the importation increase in September, as it inched up by 21.9 percent to $2.4 billion, comprising 42 percent of total imports.

These imported raw materials and intermediate goods included semi-processed raw materials with 26.5-percent share, and materials and accessories for the manufacturing of electrical equipment with 96.5-percent share.

“Increasing export orders received by the members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry of the Philippines may have boosted the import performance of the said commodity, in line with positive global expectations for the electronics industry in the second half of [the year],” Balisacan said.

Other than raw materials and intermediate goods, capital goods and higher import bills of transport machines and equipment (land transportation with 2.5 percent, and aircraft, ships and boats with 1,554.8-percent growth), and power-generating machines (14.2-percent growth) also fueled the growth of the country’s imports in September, with capital goods increasing by 20.8 percent to $1.6 billion from last year’s record.

“The higher value of imported aircraft, ships and boats was partly attributed to the arrival of new Airbus A330-300 of Cebu Pacific Air as part of the company’s growing fleet,” the NEDA director general said.

Furthermore, consumer goods imports increased by 2 percent to $663.2 million, because of the expansion of durable items purchases.

“This corroborates the results of the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Consumer Expectations Survey indicating that consumers generally perceived the third quarter of 2013 as a favorable time to buy durable items,” he said.

For September, the Philippines mostly bought items from United States totaling $675.1 million, which comprised 11.8 percent of the country’s total importation.

The US was followed by China 11.5-percent share ($657.6 million), Taiwan and Japan with 8 percent, Singapore with 7.2 percent, Thailand with 6.1 percent, South Korea with 5.9 percent, France with 5.7 percent, Germany with 5.5 percent and Saudi Arabia with 5.2-percent share.

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