MANILA: Philippine imports grew by double digits in March on the back of the sustained demand for capital and consumer goods, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Wednesday showed.
Imports for the month rose 11.7 percent to $6.4 billion from $5.7 billion, the PSA said, “on account of higher purchases of capital goods at 24.1 percent and consumer goods at 39.4 percent.”
While imports of capital goods grew to $2.1 billion, imports of consumer goods rose to $1.2 billion.
March’s import performance noted a climb from the 1.2 percent in February and the 6.8 percent the same month last year.
“The continued strength of merchandise imports and the fact that it is fueled by spending on capital goods bodes well for the economy. This growth also mirrors the positive prospects of the economy that are expected to be sustained for the rest of the year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra said in an emailed statement.
Most of the imported goods came from Thailand, China, and Japan.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), only the Philippines posted positive growth in imports for the month out of 11 selected Asian countries, noting the “general sluggishness of import activities in the region.”
“(G)overnment support for higher spending on infrastructure is critical not only because it supports domestic demand but more importantly, because it increases the country’s attractiveness to investors,” Esguerra said.
“Expected to fuel imports growth in the near term will be the continued expansion of public and private construction, along with investment in durable equipment,” he added.
Esguerra also said that more job opportunities coupled with increased government spending for personnel services and operating expenditures would drive the growth of consumer growth imports.
Despite this, he said that there is a need for the government to “stay on course” towards improving the business climate in the country. “This will improve our attractiveness to both local and foreign investors,” he said.