MANILA – Increased inward shipments of capital goods in the transportation and power sectors boosted merchandise imports to a positive outturn in April 2013, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

“Robust investments in the power and transportation sectors drove overseas purchases to a solid recovery in April,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan. 

Merchandise imports, after declining for three consecutive months, went up by 7.4 percent in April 2013 to $5.1 billion. 

Imports of capital goods rose 19.7 percent to $1.5 billion as a result of higher import bills for aircraft, ships and boats as well as power generating and specialized machines and land transportation equipment. 

“The increased import value of capital goods during the period coincides with the re-fleeting of a major airline and the purchase of gensets for use by electric cooperatives in Mindanao,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director General. 

Similarly, payments for imported consumer goods grew by 11.4 percent to $613.2 million in April 2013. 

The higher import value of consumer goods during the period is supported by the uptick in overseas spending for durable consumer goods, specifically gains in passenger cars and motorized cycle (32.6%), miscellaneous manufactures (21.4%) and home appliances (22.3%). 

This development is consistent with the latest Consumer Expectations Survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which showed consumer optimism posting the highest reading since the survey started in the first quarter of 2007. 

Furthermore, members of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) both reported double-digit increases in car sales in April 2013. 

“Confidence of both consumers and the business sector in the strong economy is glaring in the growth in capital and consumer spending as reflected in March and April imports,” he added. 

Imports of mineral fuels and lubricants were also up by 21.4 percent to $1.3 billion in April 2013 due to the increase in imports of petroleum crude and other mineral fuels and lubricants which offset the reduction in import payments for coal and coke. 

Meanwhile, imports of raw materials and intermediate goods amounted to 1.74 billion in April 2013, lower by 8.9 percent a year ago. 

“Favorable sentiments of the business sector on account of brisker businesses are expected to lead to a reversal in importations of raw materials and intermediate goods in the coming months,” stressed Balisacan. 

The United States of America (USA) was the main supplier of imported goods with 13.9 percent share in the total value of inward shipments in April 2013. Imports from the US consisted mainly of aircraft, ships and boats, materials/accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery. 

People’s Republic of China (PRC) fell second with a 13.5 percent share, followed by Japan (8.9%), the Republic of Korea (8.4%) and Taiwan (7.9%).