Philippine imports flat in December

Posted at 02/25/14 11:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Imports registered flat growth in December last year due to lower electronic shipments, the statistics office said on Tuesday.

Philippine imports slipped 0.1% to $5.29 billion from a year earlier in December. Imports of electronic parts in December dropped 7.3% to $1.2 billion from a year earlier.

Total imports in the 2013 were down 0.7% to $61.7 billion from a year ago.

The country had a trade deficit of $695 million in December, widening the total trade gap in 2013 to $7.73 billion.

Officials have said the destruction by typhoon "Yolanda" could spur more imports of construction materials for rebuilding communities, but that hasn't happened yet.

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.

The electronics industry group has forecast the country's electronic exports will grow 5 percent this year.

Based on the central bank's latest estimates, Philippine exports are expected to rise 6 percent this year, and imports to grow 6 percent. - With Reuters, ANC