MANILA, Philippines – The country’s imports declined 2.6 percent in September from a year ago, amid weak performance of electronic products and two other commodities.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said yesterday the country imported goods valued at $5.568 billion in September this year, down from $5.719 billion imported in the same month last year.
The lower value was recorded in September as electronic products, the country’s top imported commodity for the month, dropped 22 percent to $1.369 billion this year from the previous year’s $1.756 billion.
Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. president Dan Lachica said in a statement the lower year-on-year electronic imports in September “can be attributed to the port congestion and decreased dependence on imported materials.”
Socioeconomic planning chief Arsenio Balisacan said in a separate statement the government needs to closely monitor the successive decline in the importation of materials and accessories for the manufacture of electronic equipment, as this could be a leading indicator of the country’s external prospects, especially in the exports of manufactured goods.
Other commodities that contributed to the year-on-year decrease in imports in September were transport equipment and food products.
By country, the PSA said China remained the Philippines’ biggest source of imports with its 14 percent share in September.
Payments for Philippine imports from China reached $781.01 million in September this year, 18.5 percent higher than the $658.96 million in 2013.
While imports slid year-on-year in September, the January to September tally grew by 3.4 percent to $48.134 billion this year from the $46.529 billion in the same period of last year.
For the fourth quarter of the year, the government expects imports to improve, citing the holiday season.
This, even as the current quarter outlook index for both consumer and business confidence show a relatively weaker traction due to seasonal weak demand and a slack in industrial production.
“In time for the anticipated increase in economic activity towards the end of the year, the government should remain vigilant on the logistical challenges that may arise especially those involving importation of consumer goods,” Balisacan said. -Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)