MANILA, Philippines - Philippine imports fell in January, due to lower oil prices.
The Philippines imported $5.11 billion in January, down 14.2 percent as mineral fuels, the second biggest import item, declined 43 percent on cheap oil.
Electronics, which made up 32.4 percent of the total import bill and was the biggest import, climbed 28.3 percent from a year earlier to $1.65 billion.
Electronics is also the country's biggest export item, meaning the Philippines may export more in the coming months due to the rise in imports.
The Philippines had a trade deficit of $752 million in January. The country clocked a trade deficit of $2.1 billion in 2014.
The decline in oil prices would likely result in a narrower trade deficit this year, the Philippine central bank has said, resulting in a bigger balance of payments and current account surpluses for 2015.
Currently, the central bank has a balance of payments surplus estimate of $1 billion for 2015 and a current account surplus forecast of $6.8 billion.
Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI) forecast that electronic exports will grow between 5-7 percent this year, helped by a pick-up in global demand.
The Southeast Asian nation, which imports electronic parts and inputs for assembly into exports, provides about 10 percent of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including mobile phone chips and microprocessors. - With Reuters and ANC