Peso strengthens as April trade gap falls below forecast


Posted at Jun 11 2019 10:48 AM | Updated as of Jun 11 2019 05:11 PM

MANILA -- The peso ended stronger against the dollar on Tuesday after official data showed that the trade deficit in April was smaller than expected.

The peso closed at P51.85 to the dollar from Monday's close of P52.10, strengthening for the first time in 3 days, according to Bloomberg data.

The Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to $3.5 billion in April from $3.7 billion during the same month in 2018. The gap was smaller than the $3.9-billion forecast of economists in a Bloomberg poll.

Exports rose 0.4 percent in April to $5.51 billion from the same month in 2018. Imports contracted by 1.9 percent during the same comparable period, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The spike in exports was driven by larger shipments of the country's top 7 export products including fresh bananas (76.7 percent), gold (36.1 percent), machinery and transport equipment (28.5 percent), and coconut oil (18.1 percent), PSA data showed.

Declines in shipments of the country's top 5 import items led to the over-all contraction: transport equipment (-27.7 percent), plastic in primary and non-primary form (-14.2 percent), iron and steel (-14.2 percent), industrial machinery and equipment (-10.6 percent) and telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (-1.0 percent).