TRADE in domestic goods fell 35.6% in the first quarter to 135.812 billion pesos, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Monday, as trade was hampered by mobility restrictions and disruptions imposed by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
According to PSA’s preliminary report on the flow of goods in the Philippines, the trade volume in the first quarter was 3.383 million tons, compared to 4.874 million tons in the previous quarter.
The flow of goods covers all goods transported by sea, air and rail, with maritime transport accounting for the bulk of the goods.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort attributed the contraction in domestic trade data to “the increase in Omicron cases early in the quarter that led to temporary restrictions and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia since February 24, which has led to high prices for oil/energy and other major global commodities.
Six of the 10 product categories tracked by the PSA reported a decline in trade in value. Among them: beverages and tobacco, down 4.0%, animal and vegetable oils (-3.1%), chemicals and similar products (-5.8%), manufactured products classified mainly by material ( -38.7%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (-1.7%). %), and goods and transactions not classified elsewhere in the PSCC (-3.7%).
Food and live animals grew by 6.1%, while the value of raw, inedible materials, excluding fuels, increased by 12%. Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials increased by 323.4%, and machinery and transport equipment by 21.3%.
Eastern Visayas recorded the largest trade surplus in the first quarter, amounting to 19.12 billion pesos, with outflows recorded at 30.212 billion pesos. The Western Visayas trade surplus was P9.70 billion, with an outflow of P28.393 billion. Central Luzon returned a trade balance of 6.048 billion pesos, with 6.495 billion pesos in outflows.
The Caraga region remained the top destination for commodities with entries amounting to 31.467 billion pula, for a trade deficit of 26.996 billion pula.
Ricafort expressed optimism in domestic trade data as the economy reopens and businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity.
“The continued recovery of domestic and overseas tourism, as well as the resumption of in-person/face-to-face schooling, which are all missing parts of the economic recovery story, (are) recovering in the right direction and could also support the recovery of many businesses, would also lead to some recovery in domestic trade data, going forward,” he said. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo