PH trade keeps growth steady in Oc­to­ber 2016

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To­tal

mer­chan­dise trade grew by 5 per­cent in Oc­to­ber 2016, sup­ported by growth in both im­ports and ex­ports, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (NEDA).

Based on a re­port by the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Author­ity, to­tal trade grew to US$11.7 bil­lion in Oc­to­ber 2016, with im­ports grow­ing by 5.9 per­cent and ex­ports, 3.7 per­cent.

“To­tal trade was boosted by higher ex­ports and im­ports to and from Asia and other ma­jor markets. For the year’s first ten months, it is good to note that to­tal trade re­mains steady at 4.7 per­cent,” said So­cioe­co­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Ernesto M. Per­nia.

For Oc­to­ber 2016, im­port pay­ments grew to US$6.9 bil­lion fol­low­ing in­creases in de­mand for cap­i­tal goods (13.1%), con­sumer goods (16.6%), and min­eral fu­els and lu­bri­cants (22.3%).

Like­wise, ex­port earn­ings in­creased to US$4.8 bil­lion on ac­count of the strong per­for­mance of min­eral prod­ucts (15.1%) such as cop­per con­cen­trates and chromium ore, and agro-based prod­ucts (30.6%) like co­conut oil, bananas, rub­ber and fish. In­creased re­ceipts recorded were from China, Hong Kong, Thai­land, Tai­wan, Malaysia, the United States, the Nether­lands, Mex­ico and France.

Along with the lift­ing of the Chi­nese ban on Philip­pine bananas and man­goes, Per­nia said that dur­ing Pres­i­dent Duterte’s state visit last Oc­to­ber, gov­ern­ment was able to close a US$100 mil­lion con­tract for fruit ex­ports to China.

The po­ten­tial is also huge for Chin­abound ex­ports of high value crops such as mango, co­conut, and dragon fruit, as well as that of fish­ery prod­ucts, in­clud­ing lapu-lapu, crabs, shrimps, prawns and tuna.

“The coun­try’s im­prov­ing re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia will also spur growth in the ex­ports sec­tor, as Rus­sia com­mit­ted to im­port around US$2.5 bil­lion worth of Philip­pine fruits, grains, and veg­eta­bles in the next twelve months,” he added.

Per­nia said that he is hope­ful about the global econ­omy es­pe­cially given the good jobs data in the US re­cently. Nonethe­less, he says it is im­por­tant for the Philip­pines to har­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the ASEAN bloc’s ties with China, Ja­pan, Korea, In­dia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“We must also max­i­mize our bi­lat­eral ties with Ja­pan and the Euro­pean Free Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, in­clud­ing Europe’s Gen­er­al­ized Scheme of Pref­er­ences. And aside from tak­ing ad­van­tage of ex­ist­ing for­eign trade agree­ments, Filipino ex­porters should also re­main proac­tive in driv­ing up prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, in­no­va­tion, and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion es­pe­cially that there will be stronger in­te­gra­tion in the ASEAN re­gion soon,” he added.

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