MANILA – Increased overseas buying of raw materials and intermediate goods, capital goods and consumer goods supported the 7.2-percent growth of total Philippine merchandise imports in September 2013, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The rise of importation in September 2013 mirrored the buoyant outlook of firms on the volume of business activities for the third and fourth quarters of the year. This is in anticipation of the increase in demand during the holiday season,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

Thus, the value of imports increased to US$5.7 billion in September 2013 from US$5.3 billion in the same period last year.

Raw materials and intermediate goods, which comprised 42 percent of total imports, grew to US$2.4 billion (21.9%) year-on-year in September 2013.

Higher payments for semi-processed raw materials (26.5%), particularly the rise in imports of materials and accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment (96.5%) fueled this growth.

“Increasing export orders received by the members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry of the Philippines may have boosted the import performance of the said commodity, in line with positive global expectations for the electronics industry in the second half of 2013,” the Cabinet official said.

Also, imports of capital goods rose to US$1.6 billion in September 2013, higher by 20.8 percent from the same period last year.

This growth was due to the higher import bill of aircraft, ships and boats (1,554.8%), power generating and specialized machines (14.2%) and land transportation equipment (2.5%) for the period.

“The higher value of imported aircraft, ships and boats was partly attributed to the arrival of new Airbus A330-300 of Cebu Pacific Air as part of the company’s growing fleet,” said Balisacan, who is NEDA Director-General.

As for imported consumer goods, the value of spending increased by 2.0 percent year-on-year to US$663.2 million in September 2013 due to robust purchases of durable items (7.8%).

“This corroborates the results of the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Consumer Expectations Survey indicating that consumers generally perceived the third quarter of 2013 as a favorable time to buy durable items,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United States of America was the top source of Philippine merchandise imports in September 2013 with an 11.8-percent (US$675.1 million) share.

Second is the People’s Republic of China with an 11.5-percent share (US$657.6 million) followed by Taiwan (8.0%), Japan (8.0%), Singapore (7.2%), Thailand (6.1%), South Korea (5.9%), France (5.7%), Germany (5.5%), and Saudi Arabia (5.2%).