Domestic trade data released Friday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed brisk transactions in the second quarter of 2016, reflecting what an analyst described as a growing economy amid weak external demand.
Figures for April to June showed Philippine domestic trade rose 27 percent to 4.72 million tons by volume, with the total value of commodities growing even faster to P158.71 billion from P113.93 billion a year earlier.
“The stark increase in internal trade shipments reflects the 6.9 percent [GDP] growth print in the first half,” said Bank of the Philippine Islands associate economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa.
He pointed out that domestic trade is in line with the country’s current trade situation, characterized by a surge in importation of capital, intermediate and consumer goods and a contraction in exports.
Mapa said demand for Philippine products remains weak because of faltering global market demand while the domestic economy remains vibrant.
“This is why internal trade shipments of commodities, whether by land or air, are surging as goods are moved across regions to cater to the torrid pace of consumption and investment. It is worthwhile noting that all regions [in the country], save for Calabarzon, have seen strong growth in the flow of goods both via air and land,” he added.
PSA data further showed commodities were traded mostly via sea transport, comprising 99.8 percent of all trade.
The National Capital Region, which encompasses Metro Manila, accounted for the biggest share of the trade at 19.5 percent of the total or P31 billion.
Western Visayas came in second with 13.7 percent, valued at P21.67 billion. Central Visayas followed with 13.5 percent at P21.36 billion, Eastern Visayas at 13.4 percent or P21.19 billion, while Northern Mindanao accounted for 10.6 percent or P16.80 billion.
Calabarzon contributed the least among the regions, with only P156.2 million worth of transactions.
Categorized by commodity, machinery and transport equipment comprised the largest share of commodities traded in the second quarter, accounting for P58.91 billion or 37.1 percent of the total.
Food and live animals, valued at P38.23 billion or 24.1 percent of the total, followed. Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials posted P17.4 billion, equivalent to 11 percent.