MANILA, Philippines - Merchandise imports in August climbed 22% to $4.41 billion from a year earlier, the National Statistics Office said on Tuesday.
The August import growth was a reversal of the 28.3% contraction in the same month last year, and faster than the 16.2% growth in July. However, the import bill in August was 5.7% lower than July's $4.68 billion.
Imports of electronic parts, which accounted for 37.3% of the total import bill, were up an annual 27.2% in August after a 2.4% rise in July. These are inputs used by the semiconductor and electronics industry, the country's biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy.
The government expects imports to climb 20% this year and exports to increase 15%, with estimated growth for both revised upwards earlier this year.
Merchandise exports climbed 36.6% in August from a year ago after a 35.9% jump in July.
Apart from electronic parts and fuel, the Philippines' other top imports are cereals such as rice, electrical and industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron, steel and metal scraps. - With a report from Reuters