Nov. imports inch up by 0.5%

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The country’s imports went up slightly in November last year by 0.5 percent compared to year-ago levels, as five major commodity groups’ import volumes increased, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Friday.

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Based on figures from the NSO on Friday, total imports in November last year increased by 0.5 percent to $5.235 billion compared to the $5.2 billion recorded during the same period last year.

“Similarly, on a monthly basis, it increased by 8.5 percent compared to previous month’s [October 2013] level of $4.8 billion. The growth was brought by five major commodity groups with positive year-on-year change,” the NSO said.

The five major commodity groups that drove import growths were transport equipment; iron and steel; telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery; medicinal and pharmaceutical products; and plastics in primary and nonprimary forms.

“Cumulative imports for the first 11 months of 2013 amounted to $56.4 billion and showed a 0.7-percent decrease compared with $56.8 billion in the same period of last year,” the state-run statistical body said.

Inward shipments of electronics and semiconductors were overtaken by imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials.

Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials accounted for 23.4 percent of the total import bill, amounting to $1.2 billion.

Electronic imports came in second—dropping 8.7 percent from a year ago—with 22-percent share of total imports, accounting to $1.15 billion, with semiconductors taking up 14.7 percent, or $820.2 million of total electronic imports.

Other top imports aside from mineral fuels and electronics were transport equipment with 13.1-percent share, or $685.2 million; industrial machinery and equipment with 4.7-percent share, or $244.8 million; and food and live animals with 3-percent share, or $154.8 million.

In terms of types of imports, raw materials and intermediate goods had the highest share in November last year with 30.8 percent, or $1.6 billion.

This was followed by capital goods with 30.6-percent share, or $1.6 billion; mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with 23.4-percent share, or $1.2 billion; and consumer goods with 0.8-percent share, or $720 million.

China was the country’s “biggest source of imports” in November last year, taking up 12.8-percent share, or $671.1 million of the bill on inward shipments.

Following China were the United States with 9.9-percent share, or $589.9 million, Korea with 8.4-percent share, or $441.3 million, Japan with 8-percent share, or $416.7 million, and Taiwan with 7.9-percent share, or $412.8 million.

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