Highlights of the Philippine Export and Import Statistics August 2020 (Preliminary)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Table A. Summary of External Trade Performance
August 2020, July 2020 and August 2019

Indicator August 2020p July 2020r August 2019
FOB Value (in USD million) Year-on-Year Growth (in percent) FOB Value (in USD million) Year-on-Year Growth (in percent) FOB Value (in USD million) Year-on-Year Growth (in percent)
Total external trade 12,332.37 -21.0 13,221.57 -18.1 15,610.04 -2.6
Balance of trade -2,075.92 -30.9 -1,859.65 -48.9 -3,004.87 -16.5
Exports 5,128.23 -18.6 5,680.96 -9.1 6,302.58 1.4
Imports 7,204.14 -22.6 7,540.61 -23.8 9,307.45 -5.2
p – preliminary, r – revised
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority


1.Total external trade continued to contract

The country’s total external trade in goods in August 2020, which amounted to USD 12.33 billion, declined at an annual rate of -21.0 percent. This was higher than its previous month’s annual drop of -18.1 percent, and -2.6 percent drop in August 2019. (Table A)

Of the total external trade in August 2020, 58.4 percent were imported goods, and the rest were exported goods.

2. Trade deficit dropped at a slower rate

Balance of trade in goods (BoT-G) is the difference between the value of export and import. BoT-G in August 2020 amounted to USD -2.08 billion, representing a trade deficit with an annual decline of -30.9 percent. In the previous month, trade deficit fell at a faster rate of -48.9 percent, and at a slower rate in August 2019 at -16.5 percent. (Figure 1)

Figure 1


1. Sales from export dropped at a slower rate

The country’s total export sales in August 2020, amounting to USD 5.13 billion, continued to shrink but at a slower rate of -18.6 percent, from -9.1 percent drop a month ago. In August 2019, export performance gained at a rate of 1.4 percent. (Tables A, and 2)

The export earnings in August 2020 marked the sixth month in a row in which value of export had negative growth. (Figure 2)

Figure 2

Of the top 10 major commodity groups in terms of value of exports, eight recorded an annual declines, in which the fastest drop were led by gold (-31.3%); electronic products (-20.1%); and fresh bananas (-19.4%). (Tables B, and 3)

Table B


2.Year-to-date total export dropped

The cumulative export earnings from January to August 2020 amounted to USD 39.29 billion, lower by -16.6 percent than the export value earned from January to August 2019. (Table 4)

3. Electronic products commodity group remained the highest on export sales

By commodity group, exports of electronic products continued to be the country’s top export with total earnings of USD 2.93 billion. This amount accounted for 57.1 percent of the total exports in August 2020. This was followed by other manufactured goods with an export value of USD 267.14 million (5.2%), and other mineral products which amounted to USD 218.65 million (4.3%). (Figure 3, and Table 3)

Figure 4


4. Manufactured goods commodity group still comprised the biggest chunk of total exports

By major type of goods, exports of manufactured goods shared the highest to total exports in August 2020 amounting to USD 4.28 billion (83.4%). This was followed by mineral products with a share of USD 388.50 million (7.6%), and total agro-based products which shared USD 334.58 million (6.5%). (Figure 4, and Table 5)

Figure 4


5. Japan contributed the highest export value

By major trading partner, exports to Japan comprised the highest export value amounting to USD 887.38 million or a share of 17.3 percent to the total exports during the month.

Completing the top five major export trading partners with their export values and percent shares to the total exports were:

a. United States of America (USA), USD 751.68 million (14.7%);
b. People’s Republic of China, USD 732.57 million (14.3%);
c. Hong Kong, USD 724.27 million (14.1%); and
d. Singapore, USD 330.67 million (6.4%). (Figure 5, and Table 7)

Figure 5


6. Majority of exports were for APEC countries

By economic bloc, USD 4.38 billion (85.5%) of the country’s merchandise exports in August 2020 went to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries. This was followed by East Asia, valued at USD 2.66 billion (51.9%), and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which amounted to USD 856.84 million (16.7%). (Figure 6, and Table 8)

Figure 6


7. Eastern Asia contributed the highest export value by geographic region

By geographic region, Eastern Asia comprised the highest export value amounting to USD 2.66 billion in August 2020. This was followed by South-eastern Asia with export value of USD 856.86 million, and Northern America, USD 789.16 million. (Figure 7)

Figure 7



1. Import value continued to drop

Total imported goods in August 2020, which amounted to USD 7.20 billion, remained at downtrend with an annual rate of -22.6 percent. (Figure 1, and Table A)

Value of imports contracted for the 16th straight month in August 2020. In the previous month, the decline was higher at -23.8 percent, while in August 2019, imports decreased by -5.2 percent annually. (Figure 8)

Figure 8


The annual decrement of imported goods in August 2020 was due to the decreases in all of the top 10 major import commodities. The annual rate of decline was fastest in transport equipment (-50.5%); mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-47.7%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles (-28.3%). (Tables C, and 9)

Table C



2. Year-to-date total import value also dropped

The cumulative import value from January to August 2020 amounted to USD 53.90 billion, representing a decline of -27.4 percent compared with the import value of USD 74.20 billion posted in the same period of 2019. (Table 10)

3. Electronic products accounted for the highest import value among commodity groups

Most of the imported goods were electronic products with an import value of USD 2.27 billion or a share of 31.5 percent to the total imports in August 2020. This was followed by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, valued at USD 563.39 million (7.8%) and transport equipment which amounted to USD 442.49 million (6.1%). (Figure 9, and Table 9)

Figure 9


4. Imports of raw materials and intermediate goods contributed the highest

By major type of goods, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods accounted for the largest share of USD 2.95 billion (40.9%) to total import in August 2020. Imports of capital goods, which shared USD 2.33 billion (32.4%), ranked second followed by consumer goods with a share of USD 1.28 billion (17.8%). (Figure 10, and Table 11)

Figure 10


5. Import value of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and medical supplies remained on uptrend

The total import value for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and medical supplies in August 2020 soared to USD 27.02 million, indicating an annual increment of 27.7 percent in the same month of the previous year. Annual growth of import value for these medical items in the previous month was higher at 113.6 percent. In August 2019, annual increase of the import value for the items was lower at 21.6 percent. (Table D)

The annual increments noted in the following PPEs and medical supplies pushed up the total import value for these items during the period:

a. surgical facemask (1,565.9%);
b. protective clothing (1,388.1%);
c. face shield (236.0%); and
d. other facemask (188.5%);

Month-on-month, import value for PPEs and medical supplies decrease by -27.9 percent in August 2020. However, imports of same commodity from previous month registered an increase of 3.1 percent. (Table D)

Contributing to the monthly increase in the import value of PPEs, and medical supplies were faceshield (277.7%), surgical facemask (114.3%), other facemask (35.8%), and safety headgear (14.0%). It was, however, observed that import values for the following commodities dropped month-on-month in August 2020:

a. protective clothing (-79.6%);
b.testing kits (-38.3%); and
c. surgical gloves (-8.3%).

Table D

6. People’s Republic of China had the highest import value

The People’s Republic of China was the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods valued at USD 1.82 billion or 25.3 percent of the total imports in August 2020.

Completing the top five major import trading partners with their corresponding import payments and percent shares to the total imports were:

a. Japan, USD 623.69 million (8.7%);
b. USA, USD 517.77 million (7.2%);
c. Singapore, USD 495.11 million (6.9%); and
d. Republic of Korea, USD 493.11 million (6.8%).

(Figure 11, and Table 13)

Figure 11


7. Imports came largely from APEC member countries

By economic bloc, APEC member countries were the biggest supplier of the country’s imported goods in August 2020 with a value of USD 6.28 billion (87.2%). This was followed by East Asia with import value of USD 3.57 billion (49.6%), and ASEAN, USD 1.98 billion (27.5%). (Figure 12, and Table 14)

Figure 12


8. Eastern Asia contributed the highest import value by geographic region

By geographic region, USD 3.58 billion of the country’s imports in August 2020 went to Eastern Asia. This was followed by South-eastern Asia, which amounted to USD 1.98 billion, and Northern America, which valued to USD 566.32 million. (Figure 13)

Figure 13


National Statistician and Civil Registrar General


Explanatory Notes

Export and import trade statistics are compiled by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) from export and import documents submitted to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) by exporters and importers or their authorized representatives as required by law. The PSA regularly collects the following documents:

  1. Export Declaration (ED – DTI form);
  2. Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration (BOC IEIRD Form 236);
  3. Informal Import Declaration and Entry (BOC Form 177); and
  4. Single Administrative Documents (SAD)

The digitized copies of all documents are provided by BOC and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to PSA on a monthly basis through email.

The output of the Automated Export Documentation System (AEDS) of the BOC is being utilized to generate export statistics. AEDS is a paperless transaction in lieu of the manual filling up of export documents.

Moreover, an electronic copy of the IEIRD, or SAD, is utilized to capture the monthly import figures. SAD-IEIRD is an on-line submission of import documents either by brokers or companies. These are transactions that pass through the Automated Cargo Operating System (ACOS), now called the e2m (electronic to mobile) customs system, which is implemented through the BOC e-Customs Project.

All documents (hard copies and e-files) received within the cut-off date, which is every 30th day of the month, are compiled, processed, summarized, analyzed, and disseminated through monthly statistical tables and press releases. Processing includes coding, editing, review, and validation of results. All documents received after the cut-off date are included in the generation of the revised monthly statistical tables which are available 10 to 15 working days after the press release date.

The press release for a reference month is every 40th day after the reference month. However, if the 40th day falls on a Saturday, the release is made a day earlier (Friday). If it falls on a Sunday or Monday, the release is on Tuesday. Moreover, if the release date falls on a holiday, the date of release is moved accordingly.

The 2015 Philippine Standard Commodity Classification (PSCC) is used to classify the commodities at 10-digit code level for statistical purposes.

Data requests on international merchandise trade statistics can be made at the PSA, Economic Sector Statistics Service, Trade Statistics Division with telephone number (02) 8376-1975 and email address j.soliven@psa.gov.ph.