PH Oct exports up 6.6%, imports by 13.1

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) says continued export growth, economic cooperation, and trade facilitation initiatives will sustain trade gains, as total trade recorded double-digit growth in October 2017.

NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country’s total trade grew by 10.4% year-on-year in October 2017, a pickup from September’s 4.6% growth.

Exports recorded its 11th consecutive month of positive growth at 6.6%, while imports posted a double-digit growth of 13.1%.

“We are encouraged by the performance of Philippine trade in recent months, especially with the consistent positive performance of exports. Cooperation and trade initiatives are integral to sustaining these gains,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.

Total merchandise trade grew by 11.2% for the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of last year, NEDA noted.

“For 2018, we are looking at improved performances in exports of agricultural products and semiconductors, which continue to comprise a huge portion of Philippine exports,” the Cabinet official said.

This follows the expected rise in global prices of agricultural exports and World Semiconductor Trade Statistics’ expected 7% growth in global sales.

Pernia noted that these gains and positive outlook will be accompanied by initiatives such as ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators that could help in reducing trade transaction costs by 10% by 2020.

The ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and ASEAN-HKC Investment Agreement (AHKIA) signed last month will also increase and facilitate trade in goods and services within the region, he said.

The AHKFTA broadens market access, promotes trade confidence, and strengthens cooperation while AHKIA covers protection, promotion, and facilitation of investment.

“Against this backdrop, Philippine exports will likely remain in the positive territory and should pick up due to higher demand during the holiday season,” Pernia said.