Imports up in value but down in volume

Published by rudy Date posted on May 2, 2011

The continuing price increases in electronic and petroleum products had led to higher imports payments and consequently rising commodity prices but these are expected to be short-term, The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

“Tight supply in electronics, brought about by logistical and infrastructure challenges in Japan may increase prices in the sector, and high prices will eventually weigh down demand,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda Director General Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said.

Paderanga added despite the 63.1 percent decline in shipping volume, import value of materials and accessories for the manufacture of electric equipment increased by 79.3 percent mainly due to price increases.

“The decline in volume of shipments indicates that there are risks to the performance of the technology sector in the coming months as growth has been mainly supported by price effects,” Paderanga said.

The Neda chief made this statement after the National Statistics Office released its February 2011 Philippine imports data. Import payments for the said month amounted to $4.7 billion, up by 20.1 percent.

The February 2011 imports performance was lower than the 27.6 percent imports rise recorded in the same month a year ago. The trade deficit for the first two months of 2011 is valued at $2.1 billion, higher than the $1 billion deficit recorded during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the value of inward shipments of petroleum crude increased by 140.6 percent compared to the same month last year due to increases in both volume and prices of crude oil.

“Oil prices continued to surge due to mounting anxiety over political tensions in the Middle East and North Africa,” Paderanga said.

The price of Dubai crude oil averaged $100.2 per barrel in February 2011 from only $74.5 per barrel a year ago.

Moderating growth in imports, capital goods declined by 17.8 percent because of decreasing payments for telecommunication equipment and electrical machines (-30.4 percent) and office & EDP machines (-47.6 percent). The decline may be traced to falling prices as the volume of shipments for the two subcommodity groups increased by 21.7 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Rice imports dropped by 99.1 percent as shipments went down to 3.3 million gross kilos in February 2011 from 364.2 million gross kilos in 12 months ago.

“An increase in rice imports, however, may be observed in March and April 2011 as the National Food Authority finalized the importation of 187,000 metric tons of rice for calendar year 2011 on 15 April 2011,” Paderanga said.

In terms of origin, Japan was the top supplier of Philippine imports for February with an 11.2 percent share. Following Japan were the United States (10.7 percent), Singapore (9.8 percent), South Korea (9.4 percent), and PR China (7.8 percent). –Daily Tribune

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