MANILA – Merchandise imports grew by 8.7 percent year-on-year to US$5.5 billion in July 2013 as notable gains from electronic products were seen in the period, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The import value of materials/accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment went up by 119.9 percent in July 2013, boosting the 34.9-percent growth in semi-processed raw materials.

“This reflects the broadly upbeat prospects for the country’s export-oriented electronics industry for the remaining months of 2013. Also, this is backed by the consensus expectation of moderate growth in the global sales of semiconductor for the year,” said NEDA officer-in-charge (OIC) and Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan.

Electronics exports also recovered in July 2013 with an annual growth of 11.2 percent after a series of contractions since December 2012.

Overall, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods grew by 34.7 percent and consumer goods by 2.1 percent.

“The higher imports of raw materials and intermediate goods mirrored the positive outlook of businesses in the third quarter of 2013. Moreover, this is a result of an expected acceleration of the overall business activity growth momentum in the fourth quarter of the year,” the NEDA official said.

Overseas spending for durable consumer goods grew by 14.2 percent in July 2013. These include passenger cars and motorized cycle (13.3%), miscellaneous manufactures (18.2%), and home appliances (5.7%).

“Based on the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Consumer Expectations Survey, consumers generally perceived the third quarter of 2013 as a favorable time to buy durable items,” said Tungpalan.

Also, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) reported a year-on-year growth of 8.2 percent in vehicle sales in July 2013, following a brisk demand for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Meanwhile, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continued to be the main source of imported goods since May 2013, with a 13.4-percent share in the total value of imports in July 2013.

The PRC is followed by the USA with an 11.3-percent share, Republic of Korea (8.6%), Taiwan (8.5%), and Japan (8.1%)

Tungpalan, who is Deputy Director-General for Investment Programming, is OIC of NEDA from September 23 to 27, 2013, while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio M. Balisacan is on official business abroad.