Philippines' July trade deficit widens as imports surge
MANILA, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The Philippines' trade deficit
widened in July as imports posted their fastest gain in more
than two years while exports barely grew, government data showed
Trade deficit for July was $3.546 billion versus $3.188
billion in June. The deficit was $1.305 billion in July 2017.
Imports surged 31.6 percent in July from a year earlier,
owing to large purchases of iron and steel, and transport
equipment, industrial machinery and equipment, while exports
posted only a negligible growth of 0.3 percent.
The central bank has projected an 11 percent growth in
imports this year, driven by demand for capital and consumer
goods as the government pushes ahead with its massive programme
to build new airports, ports, road networks.
Exports are projected to rise 10 percent this year.
The Philippines has been posting large trade gaps since last
year that have led to wide current account deficits and added
pressure on the peso, which has fallen this month to its weakest
in more than 12 years against the U.S. dollar.
The peso opened 0.14 percent weaker on Tuesday while the
Philippine Stock Exchange index fell as much as 1 percent
in early trades.
Policymakers have said higher imports reflected a continuing
robust expansion of the domestic economy.
The Philippine economy remains one of the fastest growing in
Asia, but the slower growth posted in the second quarter
increases the challenge for a government that's funding a
multi-billion dollar infrastructure overhaul and a central bank
wrestling with high inflation.
(Reporting by Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by
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