MANILA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Philippine trade grew 7.3 percent in November 2016 mainly due to strong growth in imports, the government said on Tuesday.
The National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement that the trade for November totaled 12.0 billion U.S. dollars in November 2016. On the other hand, it said imports grew 19.7 percent, mitigating the 7.5 percent drop in exports.
"The surge in trade transactions with East Asia and the ASEAN boosted the performance of imports, which also signals an increase in the purchasing power of Filipinos," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, expressing optimism that trade would further increase in December 2016.
The agency also said that import payments grew 7.3 billion U.S. dollars due to the swell in demand for capital goods, consumer goods and raw materials and intermediate goods, mineral fuels and lubricants.
Exports earnings on the other hand dropped to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars due to the 10.6 percent decrease in the value of manufactured goods, mostly electronics that declined by 7.9 percent, the agency said.
"While we are expanding our trade relations with potential markets, we need to further harness our existing free trade agreement and continue to push for reforms," Pernia said. "This will improve our business environment and increase our attractiveness to foreign investors."
Moreover, Pernia said the performance of agro-industry products are seen to further increase with the renewed and improving Philippine relations with China and Russia.
"The positive global growth outlook paired with the upcoming ASEAN integration is the perfect opportunity to expand the Philippines' export portfolio," he added.
"We must continue to develop our infrastructure and encourage product differentiation and quality upgrading to prepare our micro, small, and medium enterprises, for the upcoming increase in demand from our new trading partners," Pernia said. Enditem