Philippine merchandise imports recovered for the first time in four months in April 2013 as it improved 7.4 percent to $5.141 billion, data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed on Tuesday.
The NSO data also showed that April imports was higher compared to the $4.788 billion recorded a year ago.
Similarly, it increased by 4.5 percent from $4.922 billion compared to previous month’s level.
However, the data added that aggregate imports from January to April amounted to $19.498 billion or a 3.9-percent decline compared with $20.297 billion in the same four months of last year.
The NSO said that the growth was supported by seven out of 10 major commodity groups, whose year-on-year change was positive. These were: transport equipment; medicinal and pharmaceutical products; mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials; other food and live animals; industrial machinery and equipment organic and inorganic chemicals; and iron and steel.
Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) attributed the recovery of imports to the increased inward shipments of capital goods in the transportation and power sectors.
“Robust investments in the power and transportation sectors drove overseas purchases to a solid recovery in April,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
Accounting for 25 percent of the aggregate import bill, mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials emerged as the top imported commodity in April 2013 with payments amounting to $1.283 billion.
It was followed by electronic products with reported value of $1.062 billion; transport equipment with total imports valued at $593.61 million; industrial machinery and equipment amounting to $280.96 million; and other food and live animals with recorded $156.80 million worth of imports.
On the other hand, imports of capital goods rose 19.7 percent to $1.5 billion as a result of
higher import bills for aircraft, ships and boats as well as power generating and specialized machines and land transportation equipment.
“The increased import value of capital goods during the period coincides with the re-fleeting of a major airline and the purchase of gensets [generator sets]for use by electric cooperatives in Mindanao,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA director general.
Consumer goods, others
Similarly, payments for imported consumer goods grew by 11.4 percent to $613.2 million in April 2013.
The NEDA said that the higher import value of consumer goods during the period is supported by the uptick in overseas spending for durable consumer goods, specifically gains in passenger cars and motorcycles, miscellaneous manufactures, and home appliances.
“Confidence of both consumers and the business sector in the strong economy is glaring in the growth in capital and consumer spending as reflected in March and April imports,” he added.
Furthermore, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods amounted to $1.74 billion in April 2013, lower by 8.9 percent a year ago.
“Favorable sentiments of the business sector on account of brisker businesses are expected to lead to a reversal in importations of raw materials and intermediate goods in the coming months,” Balisacan added.