Merchandise imports in 2013 posted flat growth from a year earlier, indicating sluggish demand in the domestic economy.
“Aggregate imports for the year 2013 amounted to $61.7 billion and showed a 0.7- percent decrease compared with $62.1 billion in the same period of last year,” the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said through the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The statistical body, which integrates the NSO and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), said five commodity imports recorded declines last year.
These five commodity groups were feeding stuff for animals (not including unmilled cereals); electronic products; industrial machinery and equipment; iron and steel; and transport equipment.
The PSA said imports in December slipped by 0.1 percent to $5.294 billion compared to $5.3 billion in December 2012.
“After posting four consecutive months of positive growth from August to November 2013, the value of imported capital goods recorded a double-digit decline of 29.5 percent in December 2013,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
On a monthly basis, imports rose 1.1 percent in December from November’s $5.236 billion.
Electronics led imports in December last year with a 22.6-percent share, or $1.2 billion of the total import receipts. Semiconductors followed, contributing 17.2 percent, or $910.9 million for December 2013.
Other top commodity imports were mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with 22.4 percent share, or $1.18 billion; transport equipment with a 12.5 percent share or $662.1 million; and industrial machinery and equipment with 4.5-percent share, or $240.2 million.
The Philippines continued to source most of its imported items from China, which accounted for $776.5 million, or 14.7-percent share of the total imports for December 2013.
Other top import sources were the United States, with 10.9-percent share, or $575.8 million; Korea with an 8-percent share, or $422.2 million; Japan with a 7.7-percent share, or $405.1 million; and Taiwan with a 7.2-percent share, or $383.6 million.