DOF sees trade recovery ahead

DOF sees trade recovery ahead

MANILA, Philippines — As economic activities crawl back to full capacity, the trade sector is expected to sustain its recovery for the rest of the year, but authorities should remain vigilant against the resurgence of cases that may require a revert to lockdowns.

In an economic bulletin, Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran said trade would benefit from the government’s efforts to speed up the vaccination program.

However, he said the government will monitor how the spread of the Delta variant will affect the resumption of trade activities, as failure to manage the transmission of the virus may compel the economy to take a step back.

In July, exports jumped by nearly 13 percent to $6.42 billion, as electronics, the country’s largest shipment, grew by more than 10 percent to $3.68 billion. Imports, on the other hand, swelled by close to 24 percent to $9.71 billion, with markets abroad starting to live with the pandemic.

On a yearly level, exports rose by about 20 percent to $42.39 billion in the seven months to July, while imports ballooned by over 30 percent to $63.7 billion. As such, the trade deficit widened by more than half to $21.3 billion, from $13.5 billion a year ago.

“Nevertheless, with the prevalence of the more infectious COVID-19 Delta variant in the country, the government will continue to be vigilant and be ready to respond to the additional risks posed by the virus with the appropriate management measures, lest the green shoots in the economy be stamped out completely,” Beltran said.

The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) expects exports to improve by 10 percent this year as a result of base effects from last year and the rebound of trading partners like China, Japan and United States.

On the other hand, the DBCC sees imports rising by 12 percent as countries lift their business restrictions and domestic demand begins to bounce back.

The Bureau of Customs, for one, registered its highest monthly collection in history in September at P59.9 billion, exceeding by over five percent its goal for the period of P56.9 billion. The agency tasked to man the ports attributed the growth to the recovery of imports.

The September performance marked the ninth consecutive month that the Customs surpassed its revenue target. The agency plans to raise P616.74 billion for the year, and has now collected close to 77 percent at P472.2 billion.