MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The country's imports in June rose by 1.4% from a year earlier, the slowest growth since October 2009, when they had fallen in annual terms, the National Statisitics Office said on Wednesday.
The import bill in June totaled $4.17 billion, higher than last year's $4.1 billion but 12.4% lower than May's $4.75 billion.
For the first 6 months, imports grew 28.5% to $26.19 billion from $20.38 billion in the same period of 2009.
Electronic imports, which accounted for 34.7% of the aggregate import bill in June, rose 4.3% from a year ago to $1.44 billion.
Imports of electronics are used by the semiconductor and electronics industry, the country's biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy.
Apart from electronic parts and fuel, the Philippines' other top imports in June are cereals such as rice, electrical and industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron, steel and metal scraps.
Japan remained the country's largest source of imports for the month with a 12.8% share, recording payments worth $534.71 million. This was 9.9% higher than last year's $486.60 million.
Singapore came in second with $432.42 million or a 10.4% share of the total import bill. Singapore was followed by US ($457.29 million), Thailand ($400.14 million), and China ($351.19 million).
The central bank has revised up its import growth forecast to 20% in 2010 from 18%, and raised export growth expectations to 15% from 12%.
Merchandise exports rose 33.4% in June from a year ago after a 37.3% jump in May. With a report from Reuters