ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippine industrial activity slows
Industrial activity in the Philippines may have slowed in May, as factory output and electronics imports eased, according to two separate reports of the National Statistics Office (NSO). The NSO said the country’s total imports rose 31.4 percent to $4.753 billion in May from $3.617 billion in the same period last year. Growth for that month was weaker than the 48.2 percent expansion in April
On a monthly basis, May imports however rose 4.9 percent, a reversal from April’s 0.2 percent contraction.
The May performance allowed imports to grow 35.3 percent to $22.019 billion in the first five months of the year.
This resulted in a trade deficit of $2.85 billion, which is higher than the $2.456-billion deficit in the same five-month period last year.
For May alone, the Philippines posted a deficit of $513 million, tamer than the $529 million in the same month last year.
Electronics, which accounted for 32.2 percent of the total import bill, went up by 17.7 percent to $1.529 billion.
On a monthly basis, electronics grew by 0.8 percent from April.
Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials in May grew 103.8 percent to $1.029 billion.
Cereals and cereal preparations fell 32.8 percent to $234.55 million, while purchases of metalliferous ores and metal scrap skyrocketed to $212.12 million from last year’s $34.87 million.
Payments for transport equipment grew 44.6 percent year-on-year, while industrial machinery and equipment increased by 52.9 percent.
Singapore, which recently revised upwards its growth forecast, was the Philippines’ biggest source of imports for May amounting to $529.36 million, up from $312 million a year ago.
Separately, the NSO announced that the volume of production index (VOPI) in May rose 25.5 percent, weaker than the 31.4 percent growth in April.
In May last, year VOPI contracted 13 percent.
The NSO attributed the growth in VOPI during the period to the increase in output of electrical machinery, machinery except electrical, petroleum products, miscellaneous manufactures, transport equipment, paper and paper products, wood and wood products, furniture and fixtures, basic metals, rubber and plastic products, beverages and leather products.
The NSO said 14.5 percent of the 100 manufacturing firms surveyed operated at full capacity in May.
The average capacity utilization of these factories stood at 83.1 percent.
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