TOTAL TRADE IN GOODS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER GROWS BY 15.5 PERCENT
Value of merchandise trade transactions between the Philippines and the rest of world for the first quarter of 1997 increased by 15.5 percent to $13.905 billion from $12.041 billion recorded during the same period in 1996. Cost of imported merchandise rose by 14.2 percent to $8.400 billion from $7.356 billion while aggregate dollar receipts from exports improved by 17.5 percent to $5.505 billion from $4.685 billion. Compared to last year, the balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) posted a slower growth rate placed at 8.4 percent to $2.895 billion from $2.671 billion.
GROWTH OF EXPORTS OUTPACES THAT OF IMPORTS IN MARCH
For March alone, total trade valued at $4.936 billion grew by 11.4 percent from $4.431 billion a year ago. Dollar-earnings from merchandise exports improved by 19.7 percent increasing to $2.001 billion from $1.671 billion while imports rose by 6.3 percent to $2.935 billion from $2.760 billion. Deficit for the month was $934.0 million, representing a 14.2 percent drop from $1.089 billion last year.
ELECTRONICS AND COMPONENTS STILL TOP IMPORT
Accounting for 15.2 percent of the aggregate import bill for the month, Electronics and Components remained as the top import despite posting a 3.7 percent dip in value. Payments amounting to $447.18 million decreased by $17.03 million from $464.21 million a year ago.
Payments for Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials, accounting for 10.3 percent of the total imports, grew by 44.1 percent to $303.51 million from $210.66 million in 1996.
Telecommunication Equipment and Electrical Machinery maintained its position last month as the third biggest import owing to a 26.6 percent increase as payments amounted to $266.59 million from $210.57 million last year.
Industrial Machinery and Equipment with an 8.5 percent share recorded purchases placed at $249.19 million for a 3.8 percent rise over $240.15 million last year.
Materials and Accessories Imported on Consignment Basis for the Manufacture of Other Electrical and Electronic Machinery and Equipment accounted for 7.0 percent of the total bill as payments reached $205.15 million, up by 18.1 percent from $173.77 million in 1996.
Transport Equipment, accounting for 4.8 percent of the total, emerged as the sixth top import with reported purchases valued at $140.16 million or 15.9 percent lower than the previous level which stood at $166.59 million.
Rounding up the list of the top imports for March 1997 were: Textile Yarn, Fabrics, Made-up Articles and Related Products, $122.68 million; Iron and Steel, $99.77 million; Paper and Paper Products, $94.65 million; andPlastics in Primary and Non-primary Forms, $91.07 million.
Aggregate payment for the top ten imports for the month amounted to $2,019.95 million or 68.8 percent of the total bill.
RAW MATERIALS ACCOUNT FOR 45.3 PERCENT OF TOTAL IMPORTS BILL
Accounting for 45.3 percent of the total cost of merchandise imports for the month, payments for Raw Materials and Intermediate Goods, principally semi-processed raw materials, increased slightly by 0.9 percent to $1.330 billion from $1.317 billion last year.
Capital Goods, notably Telecommunication Equipment and Power Generating and Specialized Machinery, followed with payments amounting to $921.49 million, which was 13.8 percent higher than 1996's $809.60 million.
Mineral Fuel and Lubricant trailed with payments placed at $303.51 million, or a 44.1 percent increase from last year's $210.66 million. Its share of the total bill was 10.3 percent.
Expenditures for the two other commodity groups, Consumer Goods and Special Transactions, combined for $380.57 million or 13.0 percent of the total.
JAPAN STILL TOP SOURCE OF IMPORTS
With a 20.7 percent share, Japan remained as the main source of imported merchandise. Payments grew by 2.8 percent year-on-year to $606.66 million from $590.04 million in 1996. Exports to Japan, on the other hand, amounted to $346.68 million for a total trade value of $953.34 million and a BOT-G deficit valued at $259.98 million.
The United States with an 18.8 percent share was the second biggest source of foreign-made goods. Payments reached $552.72 million, up by 11.7 percent from $494.79 million last year while receipts from exports reached $685.62 million for a total trade of $1,238.34 million. A BOT-G surplus was placed at $132.90 million.
Imports from Singapore amounting to $179.41 million followed with a 6.1 percent slice of the aggregate bill. Exports valued at $124.83 million resulted to a total trade figure of $304.24 million and a BOT-G deficit amounting to $54.58 million.
Fourth biggest source was the Republic of Korea which sold $170.91 million worth of merchandise to the Philippines, 28.0 percent higher than $133.50 million last year. Receipts from exports amounted to $42.60 million for a total trade value of $213.51 million and a BOT-G deficit placed at $128.31 million.
Taiwan followed with import payments amounting to $160.13 million. Exports reached $91.55 million resulting to a total trade of $251.68 million and a BOT-G deficit of $68.58 million.
Other major sources of foreign-made goods for March were: Hongkong, $133.10 million; Saudi Arabia, $107.68 million; Germany, $102.86 million; Iran, $92.72 million; and, China, $91.51 million.
Total payment to these ten countries amounted to $2,197.70 million, which was 74.9 percent of the total.
As of presstime 86 out of 41,046 export documents and 51 out of 54,614 import documents are still expected from ports.