MANILA – The country’s total trade grew by 10.4 percent in October 2017 from 4.6 percent in the previous month after exports recorded its 11th consecutive month of positive growth, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
The PSA, an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said exports increased by 6.6 percent to USD5.37 billion, while imports posted a double-digit growth of 13.1 percent to USD8.21 billion.
The deficit in the total balance of trade in goods amounted to USD2.84 billion in October 2017, higher than the USD2.22 billion deficit during the same period last year.
“We are encouraged by the performance of Philippine trade in recent months, especially with the consistent positive performance of exports. Cooperation and trade initiatives are integral to sustaining these gains,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.
Pernia is optimistic that exports of agricultural products and semiconductors, which continue to comprise a huge portion of Philippine exports, would improve further in 2018.
This follows the expected rise in global prices of agricultural exports and World Semiconductor Trade Statistics’ expected 7-percent growth in global sales.
Pernia said the gains and positive outlook would be accompanied by initiatives, such as ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators that could help in reducing trade transaction costs by 10 percent by 2020.
He said the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement and ASEAN–HKC Investment Agreement signed last month would also increase and facilitate trade in goods and services within the region.
“Against this backdrop, Philippine exports will likely remain in positive territory and should pick up due to higher demand during the holiday season,” he added.