Philippine imports in May 2015 drop 13.4%

Philippine imports in May 2015 declined by 13.4 percent to US$4.391
billion compared to US$5.06 billion recorded during the same period last
year.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) attributed the decline to
the negative performance of eight imported commodities such as
transport equipment, mineral fuels, lubricants, iron and steel,
plastics, miscellaneous manufactured articles, electronic products,
food and live animals and telecommunication equipment.

Combined imports for the first five months of 2015 amounted to $24.80
billion, a 7.4 percent decrease compared with $26.78 billion in the
same period of last year.

“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 Sec. Arsenio Balisacan.

Balisacan noted that 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.

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.

“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,”
Balisacan added.

Imports of electronic products in May 2015, accounted for 26.6 percent
of the total import bill with value amounting to $1.167 billion, down
by 12.2 percent over last year’s figure of $1.33 billion.

Semiconductors which had the biggest share of 20.7 percent among
electronic products, decreased by 15.5 percent from $1.07 billion in
May 2014 to $907.10 million in May 2015.

Imports of mineral fuels and lubricants ranked second with 15.2
percent share and reported value of $668.28 million in May 2015, down
by 24.8 percent from $888.76 million in May 2014.

Industrial machinery and equipment, contributing 7 percent to the
total import bill was the country’s third top import for the month
amounting to $308.13 million, up by 20 percent compared to last year’s
value of $256.74 million.

Transport Equipment placed fourth with 6.6 percent share to total
imports valued at $288.92 million, down by 32 percent from its
previous year’s level of $424.95 million.

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