THE Philippine balance of trade likely swung to a deficit in April as export shipments weakened during the month, according to Standard Chartered Bank.
The trade deficit in April is expected to have reached $680 million from a $264 million surplus in March, Jeff Ng, StanChart economist for the Philippines, said in a research note.
The two-year low registered by merchandise exports in April could have skewed the trade balance into a deficit, Ng noted.
In April, Philippine exports slowed down by 4.1 percent yearonyear to $4.376 billion from $4.563 billion and reversed the gains carved a year earlier.
“This should put downward pressure on the trade balance, although we forecast a 5.7 percent drop in imports versus a 6.8 percent drop in March, on lower commodity import values,” Ng concluded.
Merchandise imports dropped 6.8 percent in March to $5.11 billion from $5.48 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine Statistics Authority is scheduled to release the preliminary import figures for April today.