• Imports ease 2.4 percent to P5.2 billion in May

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    Philippine merchandise imports eased 2.4 percent to P5.2 billion in May 2013, data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed on Thursday.

    May imports was lower compared to the $5.4 billion recorded a year ago. Month-on-month, it increased by 2.3 percent from $5.1 billion compared to previous month’s level.

    Aggregate imports from January to May amounted to $24.7 billion showed a 3.6-percent decline compared with the $25.7 billion in the same five months of last year.

    “The negative growth was brought about by six out of 10 major commodity groups whose year-on-year change was negative,” the NSO stated.

    These were as follows: cereals and cereal preparations; transport equipment; electronic products; mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials; plastics in primary and nonprimary forms and organic and inorganic chemicals.

    Electronic products was the top imported commodity for the month, as it accounted for 24.3 percent of the aggregate import bill. However, while payments for electronic products was recorded at $1.3 billion, it fell by 10.6 percent over last year’s figure of $1.4 billion.

    Electronic products was followed by imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with value of $1.3 billion; transport equipment with value of $316.8 million; industrial machinery and equipment amounting to $282 million and other food and live animals recorded at $169 million.

    Rounding up the list of the top 10 imports for May 2013 were metalliferous ores and metal scrap, $142.5 million; iron and steel, $140.3 million; plastics in primary and nonprimary forms, $132.8 million; organic and inorganic chemicals, $130 million and cereals and cereal preparations, $118.9 million.

    “Aggregate payment for the country’s top 10 imports for May 2013 reached $3.9 billion, or 73.9 percent of the total import bill,” the NSO said.

    China emerged as the country’s biggest source of imports for May 2013 with 13.8-percent share of the total import bill, higher by 21.8 percent to $727.4 million from the $597.3 million in May 2012.

    It was followed by United States with payments recorded at $553.4 million; South Korea came in third, with $440.4 million; Taiwan fourth with $399.5 million; fifth in rank was Japan amounting to $365.6 million.

    Other major sources of imports for the month of May 2013 were Singapore, $313.8 million; Thailand $258.5 million; Russia, $236.2 million; Saudi Arabia, $223.8 million and Indonesia, $221.5 million.

    “Payments for imports from the top 10 sources for May 2013 amounted to $3.7 billion, or 71.1 percent of the total,” the NSO stated.

    Mayvelin U. Caraballo

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