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July 26, 2008

Philippines: Imports up 11.3% in May

Philippine imports rose 11.3 percent year-on-year in May, largely due to the increase in oil and food prices which helped sharply drive up the trade deficit, AFP quoted the National Statistics Office as saying Friday.

Imports for May were at $4.78 billion and for the first five months of 2008 at 24.24 billion, the agency said in a statement.

The increase brought the trade deficit in the first five months to $3.16 billion, a sharp increase from $347 million over the same period last year.

Electronics purchases from abroad in May hit $1.51 billion, a 14.4 percent drop from the same period last year.

Those imported components are used as inputs in the country's electronics exports, and a fall often signals a drop in overseas demand for local electronics products which make up more than half of Philippine exports.

The office noted that importation of all "raw materials and intermediate goods," which are widely used in manufacturing exported products, fell 6.4 percent in May to $1.71 billion.

The import of cereals jumped 156.7 percent to $294.78 million, the statistics office said. The Philippines is one of the world's largest rice importers.

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