MANILA – The volume of total imported merchandise recorded a 7.1-percent expansion, even as total payments declined by 13.4 percent, from US$5.1 billion in May 2014 to US$4.4 billion in the said period. The country’s importation of capital goods also sustained its double-digit growth in May 2015, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that lower purchases of imported raw materials and intermediate goods (-23.3%), mineral fuels and lubricants (-24.8%), and consumer goods (-3.4%) caused the significant softening of the overall merchandise imports. On the other hand, imported capital goods sustained its double-digit growth for the fourth straight month at 12.8 percent.

“Despite lower payments for merchandise imports, more goods are actually being purchased as business sector sentiment for the quarter remains bullish. This is driven by expected robust demand from consumers, expected uptick in construction–related activities and the higher volume of production from the manufacturing sector,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

“The volume of imports of key production inputs such capital goods and raw materials, as well consumer goods expanded in April and May 2015, indicating a likely sustained growth of the domestic economy for the remainder of the quarter,” the Cabinet official said.

“The still bullish importation of capital goods should bode well for the country’s productive sectors particularly industry and services. Year-on-year expansion in inward shipments of power generating machines, as well as office, telecommunication, and land transportation equipment remains robust,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director General.

He added that the strong growth of fixed capital investment is expected to continue in the second semester and will remain to be one of the major drivers of growth moving forward. This is similar to how legal US casino sites works as explained in this US casino sites website

“The government should remain supportive of business especially the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and also encourage greater linkages with agriculture,” he said.

Balisacan said supporting local MSMEs to flourish in the domestic market could spur further growth as they provide employment to the vast majority of the country’s labor force.

“Continuing improvements in the business environment through various reforms in doing business can sustain the growth momentum. One of these is the recently signed Competition Law that ensures a level playing field even for the MSMEs. Government should also aggressively improve the quality and quantity of our infrastructure. All these will further encourage more participation from the private sector,” the NEDA Chief added.