Philippines' November imports up slightly

Posted at 01/24/14 11:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine imports in November inched up 0.5 percent to $5.24 billion from a year earlier, the statistics office said on Friday.

Imports of electronic parts in November fell 8.7% to $1.2 billion from a year earlier, the slowest in three months.

The country's largest imports are components used by the semiconductor and electronics industry, the biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy.

Total imports in the 11 months to November were down 0.7% to $56.4 billion from a year ago. The country had a trade deficit of $944 million in November, bringing the total trade gap in January-November to $7.0 billion from $8.7 billion trade gap a year ago.

Exports climbed for a sixth month in a row in November, supported by a 10 percent increase in electronics exports for that month.

The electronics industry group has forecast the country's electronic exports last year to contract by as much as 12 percent, but it sees modest growth in 2014.

Based on the central bank's latest estimates, Philippine exports are expected to rise 6 percent this year after a projected 4 percent growth in 2013.

The central bank also expects imports to grow 6 percent from last year's 2 percent forecast, resulting in a higher trade deficit for 2014.

The destruction wrought in the central Philippines in November by super typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest to ever hit land, was not expected to significantly slow the country's growth momentum, and could spur more imports of construction materials for rebuilding of communities, officials said.

Officials expect this year's economic growth target of 6.5-7.5 percent will be achieved, after expected growth of 6.5 to 7 percent in 2013.