The country’s merchandise imports are expected to maintain “double digit” growth for the remainder of the year, driven by the robust demand for capital goods and building materials as the country moves to ramp up infrastructure spending and housing projects.
“We expect import growth to mostly remain in double-digit territory as domestic activity continues to be robust. The growing demand for capital goods and building materials—metals and non-metallic minerals—points to firms planning to expand based on positive growth prospects and higher construction activity,” Metrobank said in a weekly market review.
“Given the import movement for the past four months, we expect full-year import growth to be higher than the government’s estimate of 7 percent for 2016,” it added.
In the first four months of the year, the country’s merchandise imports were valued at $25.1 billion, 17.9 percent higher than the January to April period in 2015.
In April alone, imports had their fastest monthly growth, surging by 29.2 percent to $6.5 billion.
For the same month, capital goods remained the key imports growth driver, soaring by 56.7 percent compared to April last year.
Raw materials and intermediate goods, as well as consumer goods imports, also grew by more than 20 percent year-on-year on the back of higher demand for metals, non-metallic minerals, and passenger vehicles imports.
On the other hand, mineral fuels such as coal and petroleum continued to contract due to low global prices.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier said that April is the eighth consecutive month that capital goods imports grew double digits on the back of the strong demand in the robust construction sector.
NEDA is positive that the country would sustain its import growth, which “bodes well” with the government’s aim to speed up infrastructure spending.