Exports slip back into contraction in January

THE COUNTRY’S merchandise exports slipped back into negative territory in January after showing growth in the previous two months, while merchandise imports continued their streak of decline for the 21st month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Merchandise exports shrank by 5.2% to $5.490 billion in January after a revised 1.7% yearly growth in December 2020 and 9.4% in January 2020, preliminary trade data from the PSA showed.

Likewise, merchandise imports fell 14.9% to $7.911 billion in January, faster than the declines of 8.2% and 2.8% in December and January 2020, respectively.

These figures were way below the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s growth targets of 5% and 8% for goods exports and goods imports for this year, respectively.

The January export fall marked its first fall following two straight months of year-on-year expansion. For merchandise imports, the decline is on its 21st straight month.

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The latest trade figures brought trade balance to a $2.421-billion deficit in January, wider than the $2.149-billion gap in December 2020, but narrower than the $3.504-billion shortfall in January 2020. – Jobo E. Hernandez

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