Imports decelerate by 8.4% to P4.9B in March

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Philippine merchandise imports further decreased in March 2013 as shipments of major commodity groups recorded negative growths, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said on Friday.

The NSO data showed that March imports posted $4.922 billion earnings, or a decrement of 8.4 percent from $5.371 billion in March 2012.

“The downfall was supported by eight out of 10 major commodity groups whose year-on-year change was negative,” it stated.

The said commodity groups were mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials; organic and inorganic chemicals; plastics in primary and nonprimary forms; industrial machinery and equipment; and electronic products.


In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority noted that during the period, the price of Dubai crude fell by 13.8 percent to $105.4 per barrel following expectations of a weak global demand for the commodity.

Meanwhile, aggregate imports for the first quarter of 2013 amounting to $14.357 billion showed a 7.4-percent decline compared to $15.509 billion in the same quarter last year.

Month-on-month, March imports increased by 4.6 percent from $4.707 billion.

The data also showed that electronic products, which shared 25.3 percent of the total imports, went down by 0.6 percent to $1.246 billion over last year’s figure of $1.254 billion.

The NSO further said that other top imports in March were mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with $1.040 billion; transport equipment valued at $369.77 million; industrial machinery and equipment amounting to $249.31 million; and other food and live animals recorded $160.75-million worth of imports.

Rounding up the list of the top 10 imports for March 2013 were iron and steel valued at $132.01 million; metalliferous ores and metal scrap amounting to $127.64 million; plastics in primary and nonprimary forms, $121.91 million; telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, $114.05 million; and organic and inorganic chemicals, $100.88 million.

“Aggregate payment for the country’s top 10 imports for March 2013 reached $3.663 billion, or 74.4 percent of the total import bill,” the NSO said.

On the other hand, the data reported that the value of imported raw materials and intermediate goods, which comprised 38.7 percent of the total imports in March, went up by 1.5 percent to $1.904 billion from $1.875 billion recorded last year.

Capital goods amounted to $1.323 billion; purchases of mineral fuels, lubricants and
related materials amounted to $1.040 billion; imports of consumer goods amounted to $612.50 million; while special transactions went down $42.38 million.

“Improved consumer and business confidence lifted overseas purchases of raw materials and intermediate goods, consumer goods and capital goods in March,” according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

In addition, the NSO data said that with a share of 11.5 percent, China was the country’s main source of imported goods in March, with payments recorded at $564.45 million, an increase of 0.4 percent from $562.39 million in 2012.

“Payments for imports from the top 10 sources for March 2013 amounted to $3.654 billion, or 74.2 percent of the total,” the NSO stated.

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