Year-on-year exports declined by 2.5 percent to USD 5.88 billion in March 2019, following a downwardly revised 0.1 percent fall in February, reaching the fourth straight month of drop. Sales decreased the most for machinery and transport equipment (-10.2 percent); followed by other manufactured goods (-8.1 percent); and metal components (-1.2 percent). Also, sales of electronic products, the country's top exports slipped by 3.7 percent. By contrast, exports rose for bananas (81.5 percent); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ship (20.3 percent); other mineral products (13.6 percent); gold (12.6 percent); chemicals (5.9 percent), and cathodes & sections of cathodes, or refined copper (2.0 percent).
Exports fell to Singapore (-11.6 percent), Hong Kong (-6.0 percent), the US (-3.1 percent), China (-2.2 percent), and Japan (-1.2 percent). Conversely, sales advanced to the ASEAN countries (2.7 percent).
Imports increased 7.8 percent year-on-year to USD 9.01 billion in March 2019 from a 2.6 percent rise in February, sustaining growth for three consecutive months. Purchases rose for cereal and cereal preparations (97.9 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (43.5 percent); telecommunication equipment, and electrical machinery (37.2 percent); other food and live animal (33.5 percent); plastics in primary and non-primary form (14.2 percent); industrial machinery and equipment (11.1 percent), and electronic products (6.5 percent). Meanwhile, imports declined for mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-12.6 percent); iron and steel (-8.5 percent), and transport equipment (-4.6 percent).
Imports from China, the Philippines's biggest supplier of imported goods, jumped 50.2 percent, followed by the US (12.2 percent), and the ASEAN countries (4.6 percent). By contrast, imports went down from South Korea (-16.3 percent), Thailand (-5.9 percent), and Japan (-3.8 percent).
Considering the first three months of the year, exports dropped 3.1 percent from a year earlier to USD 16.38 billion and imports were up 4.7 percent to USD 26.18 billion, recording a trade deficit of USD 9.80 billion.