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PIA Press Release

2009 trade deficit 39.1% lower than 2008

Dec 2009 imports up by 17.9%

Davao City (27 February) -- Import payments in December 2009 amounted to US$3.9 billion, up by 17.9 percent from December 2008, as increases in capital goods, consumer goods, and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials boosted incoming trade, according to preliminary reports of the National Statistics Office (NSO).

While the 2009 overall merchandise imports posted an overall negative 24.2 percent growth, this was 0.8 percentage points higher than the DBCC forecast of negative 25.0 percent. "Imports were mainly dragged down by the adverse trend in demand during the first ten months of the year," Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto B. Santos said in his memorandum for the President.

Since the total merchandise exports for 2009 amounted to US$38.3 billion, last year's cumulative trade deficit was pegged at US$4.7 billion, which was 39.1 percent lower than the US$7.7 billion trade deficit for 2008.

For December 2009, imports of capital goods increased by 37.7 percent from December 2008 as all items posted hefty growth, except for aircrafts, ships and boats. Likewise, the 38.7 percent growth in inward shipments of consumer goods was supported both by durable (39.2%) and non-durable goods (38.3%).

Meanwhile, imports of mineral fuels and lubricants increased by 14.6 percent, on account of growth in petroleum crude (20.7%) and other fuels and lubricants and related materials (13.8%). "The increase in imports of mineral fuels and lubricants was partly due to price effects as Dubai oil price went up by 86.1 percent from December 2008 to an average of US$75.42 per barrel in December 2009," Santos said.

Japan remained the biggest supplier of Philippine imports with a 12.0 percent share, on account of the 18.1 percent increase in the inward shipments of Japanese goods. Following Japan were the US (10.6%), PR China (9.5%), South Korea (8.2%), and Singapore (8.1%).

Telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery, raw materials for electronic manufactures, and miscellaneous mineral fuels and lubricants comprised 48.3 percent of the import payments for the said countries.

Latest trade figures for the countries in East and Southeast Asia show continuing improvement in the trade sector, concurrent with the gradually recovering world economy. "Except for Japan which registered a year-on-year import contraction of 5.5 percent in December 2009, all trade-oriented Asian neighbors posted relatively strong annual growth of imports in the closing month of 2009," Santos said. (NEDA) [top]

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