TOTAL TRADE UP BY 15.3 PERCENT IN 9-MONTH PERIOD
The total merchandise trade performance for the first nine months of 1997 increased by 15.3 percent to $45.023 billion from $39.064 billion for the same period in 1996. Imports grew by 10.5 percent to $26.661 billion from $24.138 billion last year. Exports improved by 23.0 percent to $18.363 billion from $14.926 billion in 1996. These resulted in a balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) deficit of $8.298 billion or almost 10.0 percent drop from the year-ago level of $9.212 billion.
For the month of September alone, the total value of merchandise trade rose by 9.8 percent to $5.213 billion from $4.746 billion a year earlier. Imports payments were registered at $2.875 billion compared to $2.870 billion in 1996. Earnings from exports placed at $2.337 billion posted a 24.6 percent increase from $1.876 billion, resulting in a $538 million BOT-G shortfall or 45.9 percent decrease from $994 million last year. A drop of 47.7 percent or $491 million from the previous month was also posted.
ELECTRONICS AND COMPONENTS TOP SEPTEMBER IMPORTS
Electronics and Components was at the top of the list of imports with a total value of $496.39 million, or a 52.8 percent hike from $324.92 million last year. This product represented 17.3 percent of the total.
Payments for Telecommunications Equipment and Electrical Machinery rose by 8.6 percent to $297.20 million from $273.76 million a year earlier. Ranked as the second major September imports, this commodity group accounted for 10.3 percent of the total imports.
Imports of Industrial Machinery and Equipment dropped by 12.4 percent to $244.43 million from $278.95 million last year. Compared to August, payments also decreased by 16.4 percent from $292.53 million.
Materials/Accessories Imported on Consignment Basis for the Manufacture of Other Electrical and Electronic Machinery and Equipment moved to the fourth slot from seventh place with imports placed at $200.20 million or up by 26.8 percent from $157.91 million in 1996. A 24.8 percent hike from $160.43 million in August was also noted.
Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials remained in fifth spot despite a decline in payments of 30.3 percent to $178.48 million from $256.10 million last year. Payments for this commodity group also decreased by 34.5 percent from $272.44 million a month earlier.
The biggest drop in imports was noted for Transport Equipment which declined by 68.0 percent to $145.29 million. Compared to August, the import bill likewise went down by 58.4 percent from $349.34 million.
Completing the list of major imports were: Office and EDP Machines, $139.53 million; Textile Yarn, Fabrics, Made-up Articles and Related Products, $110.45 million; Iron and Steel, $109.12 million; and Plastics in Primary and Non-Primary Forms, $80.04 million.
The value of the ten principal imports amounted to $2,001.13 million or 69.6 percent of the total.
Payments For Raw Materials and Intermediate Goods Up By 15.2 percent
Bills for Raw Materials and Intermediate Goods accounting for 42.9 percent of the total imports grew by 15.2 percent to $1.233 billion from $1.070 billion last year. Compared to August, payments for this product group dropped by 4.8 percent from $1.295 billion.
Payments for Capital Goods reached $1.130 billion or down by 5.2 percent from $1.192 billion last year and posted also a 15.9 percent drop from $1.344 billion in August 1997.
Import value for Consumer Goods was placed at $257.88 million while the combined value for Mineral Fuels, Lubricant and Special Transactions stood at $254.67 million.
US TOP SOURCE OF IMPORTS
The United States remained as the top source of imported goods in September 1997. Payments for imports reached $601.76 billion, accounting for 20.9 percent of the total, while export receipts for goods shipped out to the US amounted to $834.47 million. The BOT-G surplus was placed at $232.71 million.
Japan was the second biggest supplier of imports with bills amounting to $571.89 million or 19.9 percent share of the total. Earnings from exports grossed $375.23 million and this resulted in a BOT-G shortfall valued at $196.66 million.
Imports from Singapore amounting to $208.07 million was ranked third, posting a 7.2 percent slice of the aggregate bill. Exports valued at $140.75 million resulted in a total trade figure of $348.82 million and a BOT-G deficit placed at $67.32 million.
Payments for imported goods from the Republic of Korea amounted to $198.02 million or a 28.1 percent rise from $154.56 million last year. Exports was valued at $43.70 million resulting in a $154.32 million BOT-G gap.
Taiwan followed with import bills amounting to $152.03 million while exports was valued at $122.76 million for a $29.27 million BOT-G deficit.
Rounding up the list of the top source of foreign goods for September were: Hongkong, $142.37 million; Malaysia, $95.49 million; Germany, $87.72 million; Australia, $78.95 million; and, People's Republic of China, $72.60 million.
Aggregate payment for the top sources of imports for the month amounted to $2.209 billion or 76.8 percent of the total bill.
As of presstime 92 out of 44,874 export documents and 76 out of 57,755 import documents were still expected from the ports.