Trade deficit fell in April from a year ago, on lower prices of global commodities, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday.
Data showed the trade deficit, or the difference between the value of exports and imports, reached $4.53 billion in April, down from $5.1 billion in March and $5.32 billion a year ago.
Exports tumbled to $4.9 billion in April from $6.14 billion a year earlier. It was also lower than $6.53 billion in March, which brought the four-month tally to $21.76 billion, down from $25.57 billion in the same period in 2022.
Imports declined to $9.43 billion in April from $11.46 billion a year earlier. Imports in the first four months also slid to $41.04 billion from $43.97 billion.
“The narrower trade deficit, [which is] also among the narrowest in more than a year, [was] due to the country’s lower import bill amid [the] recent decline in global oil [among 17-month lows or since December 2021] and other energy prices; also [due to] lower prices of other imported commodities such as wheat, industrial metals,” said Michael Ricafort, chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
Ricafort said the relatively weaker peso also made imports more expensive, partly weighing on demand for some imports.
“Still relatively higher prices/inflation and interest rates also partly weighed on demand for some imports,” he said.
The commodity group with the highest annual decline in the value of exports in April was electronic products, which decreased by $582.60 million.
This was followed by other mineral products (- $190.19 million) and coconut oil (-$182.14 million).
By commodity group, electronic products continued to be the country’s top exports in April with total earnings of $2.67 billion or 54.4 percent of the total. This was followed by other manufactured goods with an export value of $275.97 million (5.6 percent); and other mineral products, which amounted to $207.93 million (4.2 percent).
The commodity group with the biggest decrease in the value of imported goods in April was mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials at $927.86 million. This was followed by electronic products, which declined by $462.55 million and transport equipment by $290.10 million.