Total Philippine trade grew by 14.2 percent in January 2017 backed by the surge in export receipts from most of the country’s traditional markets, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Based on a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority, total trade grew to US$12.6 billion in January 2017, with imports growing by 9.1 percent, and exports soaring by 22.5 percent.
Export receipts from nearly all major markets experienced growth – from China, (26.3%), South Korea (50.5%), ASEAN peers (19.3%), European Union (82.5%), and United States (16.5%).
“We are now riding the waves of economic growth in the region. As such, we must continue to push for innovation and infrastructure development to fuel our momentum and drive us to the forefront of the race,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.
Export earnings climbed to US$5.1 billion in January 2017. This was propelled by growth in most commodities, led by forest products (266.2%), agro-based products (33.7%), and manufactures (23.1%).
However, import payments decelerated to US$7.4 billion due to the decrease in demand for capital goods (-11.0%), which offset the gains of consumer goods (22.8%), raw materials and intermediate goods (15.2%), and mineral fuels and lubricants (42.7%).
“We must support our fast-growing economy by strengthening our production capability and linkages, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing, to help us meet both internal and external demands,” the Cabinet official said.
Similarly, all Asian economies posted positive trade figures, with the Philippines posting the third highest year-on-year growth which is preceded by Indonesia (21.1%) and Singapore (19.9%), and followed by Malaysia (12.0%) and China (11.4%).
“This is a signal that our efforts in forging better relations with our Asian neighbors and the EU are finally paying off,” said Pernia.
However, global growth and trade risks remain with US protectionist policies that may hamper global recovery, as counter-measures will be imposed by its trading partners.
“Aside from increasing our attractiveness and competitiveness through economic reforms, we need to diversify our market and take advantage of our existing multi-lateral and bilateral trade agreements to expand opportunities for our producers,” he added.