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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        26  February 2011

2010 imports exceed Philippines target

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Philippine imports slowed in December, but the 2010 growth exceeded the government’s target, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said on Friday.

The NSO said merchandise imports rose 25.2 percent to $4.930 billion in December last year from $3.936 billion in 2009.

The December import figure was the slowest since September last year, when Philippine purchases of goods from abroad grew 24.6 percent.

For the whole of 2010, imports grew 26.9 percent to $54.70 billion from the previous year’s $43.09 billion.

Last year’s growth was higher than the government forecast of 20 percent. The country posted a trade deficit of $729 million in December from a year ago’s $615 million, but the whole year deficit of $3.27 billion was lower than the $4.66 billion in 2009. Electronics, which accounted for 34.6 percent of the total import bill, rose 35.3 percent to $1.706 billion in December from $1.261 billion in 2009.

On a monthly basis, electronics imports improved by 5.1 percent from $1.624 billion in November 2010.

Imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials in December went up by 23.7 percent to $940.95 million from $760.54 million in 2009.

Transport equipment was the country’s third top import for the month with total purchases worth $373.61 million.

Purchases of industrial machinery and equipment amounted to $236.45 million, an increase of 18.5 percent from the previous year’s $199.51 million.

Imports of iron and steel expanded by 91.3 percent to $116.83 million from $61.09 million the previous year.

Rounding up the list of the top 10 imports for December 2010 were organic and inorganic chemicals, $106.08 million; telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (including telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment), $104.35 million; plastics in primary and non-primary forms, $99.42 million; metal products, $67.06 million; and manufactured fertilizers, $64.28 million.

Payments for the country’s top 10 imports for December 2010 reached $3.815 billion or 77.4 percent of the total import bill.

Japan including Okinawa, was the Philippines’ biggest source of imports for December at $597.37 million, from the year before’s $482.47 million.

This was followed by the US with a total import bill of $544.39 million, and the People’s Republic of China, with $483.03 million.

Other major sources of imports in December were the Republic of Korea, $417.22 million; Singapore, $408.26 million; Saudi Arabia, $360.05 million; Taiwan, $359.50 million; Thailand, $285.75 million; Malaysia (including Sabah and Sarawak), $238.75 million; and Indonesia, $178.62 million.

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