PH trade deficit narrows in Sept

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THE Philippines’ trade deficit narrowed in September as exports grew faster than imports, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday.

Exports rose by 4.3 percent year-on-year to $5.59 billion while imports grew 1.7 percent to $7.5 billion.

“The country’s total balance of trade in goods … [amounted]to $1.91 billion in September 2017, lower than the $2.02 billion in September 2016,” the PSA said in a statement.

Year-to-date, the trade deficit narrowed by 3 percent to $18.94 billion from $19.52 billion.

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In a separate statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expressed support for regional cooperation initiatives that would reduce costs and further boost the country’s trade performance.

“The third quarter growth performance of several major economies such as the eurozone, US, and China reflects an upbeat outlook for the global economy. Given this, we are optimistic that Philippine trade will pick up in the last quarter due to higher demand in the holiday season,” NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said.
Export gains during September were attributed to shipments to the European Union, which rose by 40 percent, and a 7.6 percent gain for goods sold in the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) region.

Higher sales were also recorded for top export markets such as the United States (4.9 percent), Hong Kong (29 percent) Germany (4.6 percent), the Netherlands (70.8 percent) and Thailand (7.1 percent).

For imports, growth in shipments from South Korea (52.9 percent), Indonesia (8.1 percent), Taiwan (6.5 percent) and Vietnam (40. percent) offset declines for goods from China (-7.3 percent), Japan (-8.1 percent) and the US (-18.3 percent).

“We look forward to regional cooperation and integration being forwarded in APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2017 Vietnam and also in the upcoming 31st Asean meetings. We expect these initiatives to promote inter- and intra-regional trade and deepen engagement between regional blocs, as spelled out in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022,” Edillon said.

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