MANILA – The Philippines' trade deficit widened in July after two straight months of decline as exports increased while imports slightly contracted, government data released Tuesday showed.
The July trade deficit rose to $3.39 billion from $2.47 billion in June, 15.5 percent lower compared to $4.02 billion during the same period last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
Total exports in July reached $6.17 billion, up 3.5 percent from $5.97 in July last year while imports declined 4.2 percent to $9.57 billion from $9.98 during the same comparable period. Imports declined by 10.4 percent in June 2019.
The slower contraction in imports is consistent with the turnaround in government spending, Nomura senior economist Euben Paracuelles told ANC.
"Exports was actually quite positive in a sense that it improved in July but imports contracted less than what we saw the previous month, as a result the trade deficit widened," he said.
"As a result of that import demand started to pick up and we think this should continue for the rest of the year therefore we would expect trade deficit to widen in the second half," he added.
The escalating trade war is likely to “dampen” global demand for the rest of the year, Paracuelles said.