File photo: Agencies
MANILA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines’ total merchandise trade in goods decreased by 5.9 percent in February 2020, reaching 12.46 billion U.S. dollars from the 13.24 billion U.S. dollars in February 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.
Of the total external trade, the PSA said in a report that 5.40 billion U.S. dollars or 43.4 percent were exported goods and 7.06 billion U.S. dollars or 56.6 percent were imported goods.
The PSA added that the country’s balance of trade in goods in February 2020 posted a 1.66 billion U.S. dollars deficit, which was lower by 39.4 percent than the 2.73 billion U.S. dollars deficit in February 2019.
As the country continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority said the government must intensify trade sector reforms for the economy to overcome the challenges of a huge global economic slowdown.
PSA data showed that February’s trade performance was caused mainly by the 11.6-percent decline in imports, even as exports managed to post a positive growth of 2.8 percent.
In February 2020, the PSA said merchandise exports continued to expand, albeit slower, with increased shipments of agro-based products, mineral products, petroleum products and manufactured products.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said China was the Philippines’ biggest supplier of imported goods with 12.9 percent share to the total imports in February 2020, followed by Japan, South Korea, the United States and Thailand.
The Philippines’ main island of Luzon has been put under a lockdown since March 16 to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown ends on April 30.
The Asian Development Bank forecasts the Philippine economy to contract 2.0 percent this year, assuming the COVID-19 outbreak is contained by June.