MANILA - The trade deficit widened to $5.74 billion in January 2023, as imports outpaced exports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority released Tuesday showed.
The country's trade gap rose by 27.2 percent for the month, compared to the decline of 11.9 percent the previous month and the increase of 57 percent in January 2022, the PSA said.
Total external trade for the month hit $16.2 billion, down 2.4 percent, it said.
Total exports sales reached $5.23 billion, decreasing by 13.5 percent while total imports grew 3.9 percent to $10.97 billion in January, according to PSA data.
Top export partners are Japan, the US, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Germany, Netherlands and Taiwan while imports were mainly from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the US, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, the PSA said.
The decline in exports likely reflects the lower demand as the risk of recession looms in the United States, RCBC Economist Michael Ricafort said. The US, a the second largest buyer of Philippine exports in January, acquired a total of $738 million in goods while Japan, the largest buyer, with a total of $866 million.
Imports could slow down due to easing global oil prices, as well as natural gas, coal, wheat, and soybean among others, which in turn, could help narrow the trade gap and help ease inflationary pressures in the coming months, Ricafort said.
-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News