Philippine merchandise imports dropped 6.8 percent in March, reversing robust growth rates in February this year and March of last year, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Tuesday.
Imports value in March fell to $5.11 billion from $5.48 billion in the corresponding month of 2014.
The decline in March reversed the 10.2 percent imports increase posted in February, as well as the 10.8 percent rise recorded a year earlier.
For the first three months of the year, cumulative imports contracted by 4.1 percent to $15.68 billion from $16.34 billion in the year-earlier period.
Total trade in March, however, yielded a surplus of $264 million, swinging back from a revised $837 million deficit in February.
With this, cumulative deficit in the trade of goods in the first quarter of 2015 narrowed to $1.43 billion from $2.07 billion a year earlier. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO