January export earnings dip 13.5% to $5.23B


THE Philippines’s export earnings fell by 13.5 percent to $5.23 billion in January, from the previous year’s $6.045 billion, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The latest data from the PSA also indicated that the country’s import bill during the period rose by nearly 4 percent to $10.97 billion, from $10.55 billion a year ago.

These results led to the widening of the country’s trade deficit in January. PSA data showed that the trade deficit reached $5.73 billion in the first month of the year, 27.2 percent higher than the previous year’s $4.51 billion.

“The balance of trade in goods [BoT-G] is the difference between the value of export and import. The BoT-G in January 2023 amounted to $-5.74 billion, indicating a trade deficit with an annual increase of 27.2 percent,” the PSA said in a report.

“The trade deficit in the previous month recorded an annual decline of -11.9 percent, while it posted an annual increase of 57 percent in January 2022,” it added.

The PSA said export receipts in January fell as six of the 10 major commodity groups registered lower earnings, including electronic products—the country’s top export. These were coconut oil (-39.1 percent), cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (-39.0 percent); metal components (-19.8 percent); electronic products (-19.2 percent); chemicals (-14.6 percent); and other manufactured goods (-11.9 percent).

By commodity group, the agency said electronic products continued to be the country’s top export in January 2023 with total earnings of $2.83 billion, which accounted for 54.2 percent of the total exports during the period.

This was followed by other mineral products with an export value of $290.17 million (5.5 percent); and other manufactured goods, which amounted to $282.22 million (5.4 percent).

“By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods contributed the largest to the country’s total exports in January 2023 amounting to $4.17 billion [79.8 percent]. This was followed by mineral products with a share of $541.87 million [10.4 percent]; and total agro-based products, which contributed $373.14 million [7.1 percent],” the PSA said.

Japan was the top destination of Philippine exports in January, accounting for $866.25 million or 16.6 percent of the receipts during the period.

Other major buyers of Philippine products were United States ($738.26 million), China ($666.99 million), Hong Kong ($530.16 million), and Singapore ($318.47 million).

As for the increase in the country’s import payments in January, the PSA attributed this to seven of the top 10 major commodity groups. It noted that metalliferous ores and metal scrap recorded the fastest annual increase of 333.5 percent.

“This was followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, which increased by 70.6 percent annually; and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery by 15.2 percent,” it added.

The PSA said most of the imported goods in January were electronic products with an import value of $2.44 billion or a share of 22.2 percent to the total imports. This was followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, which was valued at $2.06 billion (18.8 percent); and transport equipment, which amounted to $890 million (8.1 percent).

By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share to the country’s total imports amounting to $3.91 billion. Imports of capital goods ranked second with a share of $3.16 billion, followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials with an import value of $2.06 billion.

“The People’s Republic of China was the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods valued at $2.32 billion or 21.1 percent of the total imports in January 2023,” the PSA said.

Other major sources of imports for the Philippines during the period were Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and the US.

Image credits: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg