MANILA — Though slowing down from the double-digit expansion at the close of this year’s first four months, imports are still up by three percent at the beginning of the second quarter.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report that the purchases of merchandise goods made by the country from abroad increased by 3 percent to $5.309 billion last April from $5.153 billion in the same month a year ago.
Despite the increase, the figure is still lower compared to the 10.6 percent year-on-year increase at the close of the first quarter.
Electronic product imports which are used to manufacture the country’s top export commodity decreased by 3.1 percent from $1.070 billion in April last year to $1.037 billion this year.
Capital goods also decreased a fifth from $1.473 billion last year to $1.179 billion this year to account for 22 percent of the total import bill.
In effect, the change to a single-digit increase on imports widened the balance of trade in goods deficit to $743 million this year from $647 million last year.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), however said that because of a brighter outlook for business and consumer spending, they are still expecting a further increase on imports in the coming months.
Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement that their hopes are “backed by surveys conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which showed that the overall confidence index of businesses rose to 50.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from 37.8 percent in the first quarter and is expected to be sustained in the third quarter.”