DESPITE the Philippines’ recent decline in trade performance, imports and exports of goods are expected to be better in the second half of 2019 due to the country’s economic outlook remaining positive for the year, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, that the country’s merchandise trade contracted by three percent, reaching US$15.6 billion in May 2019. This was caused mainly by imports, which declined by 5.4 percent, even as exports managed to post a positive growth of one percent.
“Global economic outlook for 2019 remains subdued as policy uncertainties and some geopolitical tensions continue to pose risks to many economies. But amid these external developments, the country’s economic outlook remains upbeat,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Exports to the USA posted the highest value of US$1,081.10 million in May 2019. Other major export trading partners were China (US$896.95 million); Japan (US$862.15 million); Hong Kong (US$764.83 million); and Singapore at (US$329.17 million).
China was the country’s biggest supplier of imported goods in May. Import payments from this country reached US$2,145.43 billion. Other major import trading partners were Japan (US$822.32 million); Korea (US$750.06 million); the US (US$710.60 million); and Singapore (US$665.53 million).
Both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank estimate that the Philippine economy is poised to grow at 6.4 percent and 6.5 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively. This favorable view is also supported by the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts of 6.5 percent in 2019 and 6.6 percent in 2020.
Moreover, the approval of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018 to 2022 should further support external trade. The PEDP, which is anchored on the PDP 2017 to 2022, will provide a more focused approach in improving the country’s export position.
“The Philippines should likewise continue to aggressively pursue regional integration and cooperation to dampen the effects of increasing trade tensions,” said Pernia. “Investment promotion should be intensified with special priority given to investors who not only provide employment, but also increase the value added of firms located in the country,” Pernia added. (PR)