RTTNews - Philippine imports dropped at a slower pace in June, on an annual basis, as economic activity improved, a report by the National Statistics Office said on Tuesday.

Total imports dropped 22.8% year-on-year in June to US$4.108 billion, compared with a 24.3% fall in the preceding month. This was the ninth consecutive month of decline in total imports. Imports had grown 13.1% in the same month last year.

Electronic products imports decreased 20.3% annually in June, after falling a revised 12.3% in May. A year ago, electronic product imports were down 20.3%.

In June, electronic products imports accounted for 33.8% of total import bill.

On a month-on-month basis, total imports increased 13.6% in June, slower than a 18.9% in May. Imports rose for the second straight month. At the same time, electronic imports rose 6.8%, after a 40.7% surge in the previous month.

For the January to June period, total imports dropped 31.1% compared to the same period of the previous year. During the period, total imports amounted to US$20.37 billion, down from US$29.57 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, total exports decreased 24.8% year-on-year to US$3.406 billion in June, compared to the 26.9% fall in the previous month. Month-on-month, shipments rose 10.42% in June, climbing for the second month in a row.

For the first six months of the year, total exports declined 32.8% compared to the same period of the previous year.

The Philippine trade deficit stood at US$701 million in June, widening from US$529 million in May. In the same month last year, the deficit was US$795 million.

The trade balance showed a deficit of US$3.14 billion for the January to June period, narrowing from US$3.94 billion a year ago.

Asian economies are showing signs of recovery amid the global slowdown. In the second quarter, the Japanese economy grew 3.7% and China expanded 7.9%. Economic growth was 20.7% in Singapore.

In the first quarter, the Philippine economy grew 0.4% annually, slowing from the 3.9% growth recorded in the year-ago period. The National Statistical Coordination Board is due to release second quarter economic performance data on August 27.

On Monday, the Asian Development Bank approved a $500 million short-term fiscal stimulus loan for the Philippines, the first loan approval from the bank's $3 billion Countercyclical Support Facility or CSF. The loan is designed to maintain momentum of the country's key development efforts by expanding the fiscal space at a challenging time for the global economy, the lender said.

Central banks in the region have stopped cutting interest rates after seeing signs of economic recovery and demand rebound. In August, the Philippine central bank ended its monetary easing that started in December 2008 as the economy showed signs of recovery from the global recession. Last week, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas held its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 4%.

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