External Trade Performance : May 1997

17 July 1997



Merchandise trade for May 1997 grew by 14.2 percent year-on-year to $4.939 billion from $4.324 billion. Imports valued at $2.956 billion grew by 9.0 percent from $2.712 billion, while exports rose by 23.0 percent to $1.983 billion from $1.612 billion. The deficit in the balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) dropped by 11.5 percent to $973 million from $1.1 billion during the same month in 1996. The BOT-G deficit has been declining year-on-year since March this year.

For the first five months, imports valued at $14.298 billion increased by 11.0 percent from $12.879 billion while exports increased by 22.9 percent to $9.571 billion from $7.789 billion. The rise in both import bills and export earnings yielded a 15.5 percent increase in the cumulative total trade figure which stood at $23.869 billion, up from $20.668 billion a year ago. The BOT-G, owing to the bigger gains of exports, settled at $4.727 billion or 7.1 percent lower than $5.090 billion last year.


Purchases of Electronics and Components, representing 17.4 percent of the aggregate imports bill for May 1997, posted a 43.6 percent increase and remained as the top imported commodity with payments valued at $514.91 million, up by $156.23 million from $358.68 million in 1996.

Telecommunication Equipment and Electrical Machinery, with a 10.7 percent share, emerged as the second biggest import posting a 55.2 percent increase as payments amounted to $316.42 million, up from $203.89 million last year.

Industrial Machinery and Equipment, accounting for 8.5 percent of the total bill, recorded purchases placed at $250.61 million or an 8.8 percent drop from $274.68 million last year.

Transport Equipment, representing 7.9 percent of the total, emerged as the fourth top import recording purchases valued at $234.55 million or 50.8 percent higher than $155.58 million last year.

Payments for Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials, accounting for 5.3 percent of the aggregate bill, dropped by 28.9 percent to $156.03 million from $219.47 million last year.

Materials and Accessories Imported on Consignment Basis for the Manufacture of Other Electrical and Electronic Machinery and Equipment accounted for 4.6 percent of the total bill as payments reached $134.52 million, down by 7.2 percent from $145.03 million last year.

Rounding up the list of the top imports for May 1997 were: Iron and Steel, $128.08 million; Textile Yarn, Fabrics, Made-up Articles and Related Products, $121.90 million; Office and EDP Machines, $115.47 million; andCereals and Cereal Preparations, $100.42 million.

Aggregate payment for the top ten imports for the month amounted to $2,072.91 million or 70.1 percent of the total bill.


Expenditures for Raw Materials and Intermediate Goods, accounting for 44.0 percent of the aggregate bill, grew by 3.9 percent to $1.301 billion from $1.252 billion last year. Compared to last month, payments for this major import group grew by 3.7 percent from $1.254 billion.

Capital Goods, again led by Telecommunication Equipment and Power Generating and Specialized Machines, followed with payments amounting to $1.138 billion, 33.7 percent higher than $851.42 million in 1996.

Payments for Consumer Goods, accounting for 9.6 percent of the total, dropped by 4.4 percent to $283.86 million from $298.33 million in 1996.


The United States, accounting for 20.8 percent of the aggregate import bill, reported shipments amounting to $615.97 million or a 20.3 percent increase from $512.01 million last year. Exports to the US, on the other hand, amounted to $671.73 million for a total trade value of $1,287.70 million and a BOT-G surplus placed at $55.76 million.

With an 18.8 percent share, Japan was the second biggest source of foreign-made goods. Payments reached $554.89 million, down by 4.4 percent from $580.43 million last year while receipts from exports amounted to $329.57 million for a two-way trade figure of $884.46 million. A BOT-G deficit was placed at $225.32 million.

Third biggest source of imports was Singapore which sold $173.88 million worth of merchandise, 12.0 percent higher than $155.24 million last year. Receipts from exports amounted to $114.15 million for a total trade value of $288.03 million and a BOT-G deficit placed at $59.73 million.

Imports from Taiwan amounting to $165.24 million followed with a 5.6 percent slice of the aggregate bill. Exports valued at $91.52 million resulted in a total trade figure of $256.76 million and a BOT-G deficit amounting to $73.72 million.

Republic of Korea ranked fifth with import payments amounting to $163.42 million. Exports reached $41.55 million resulting in a total trade of $204.97 million and a BOT-G deficit of $121.87 million.


Other major sources of imports for May were: The Netherlands, $125.39 million; Hongkong, $123.67 million; Germany, $98.69 million; People's Republic of China, $87.60 million; and Thailand, $84.99 million.

Total payment to these ten countries amounted to $2,193.74 million, 74.2 percent of the total.


As of presstime 99 out of 41,967 export documents and 67 out of 57,863 import documents are still expected from the ports.


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