• StanChart sees PH April trade balance in deficit

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    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.

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