MANILA, Philippines — The rapid reopening of the economy after Omicron’s first-quarter hitch has led to a modest expansion in commodity trading in the country.
Based on preliminary domestic trade results released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the value of goods traded within the country increased slightly during the period of January to March 2022.
The overall value of goods traded in the first quarter rose 3.4 percent to 135.81 billion pesos from 131.39 billion pesos in the same period last year.
In terms of volume, however, the domestic trade quantity reached 3.38 million metric tons, down 35.6 percent from 5.25 million metric tons a year earlier.
Domestic trade managed to escape the impact of the Omicron wave in January, which led to record numbers of COVID cases almost every day.
It has also led to the return of alert levels in Metro Manila and many other areas.
Fortunately, the Omicron variant proved short-lived after the sharp drop in cases in February, allowing the government to reopen the economy.
By product group, the PSA said food and live animals led the way in terms of commercial quantity, accounting for 21.3% of the total.
Next came mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, and goods and transactions not elsewhere classified, which accounted for 20% and 15% respectively.
However, machinery and transport equipment accounted for the bulk of the total value, accounting for 35.8% or 48.62 billion pesos.
Food and live animals, valued at 30.36 billion pesos, came second and was followed by manufactured goods classified mainly by material at 19.55 billion pesos.
During the quarter, the trade balance – the difference between the value of outflows and the value of inflows – was most favorable in the Eastern Visayas, which recorded a trade balance of 19.12 billion pesos; Western Visayas, 9.7 billion pesos and Central Luzon, 6.05 billion pesos.
Caraga, on the other hand, had the highest negative trade balance of 27 billion pesos in the last quarter. It was followed by Calabarzon with 5.67 billion pesos and the Zamboanga Peninsula with 4.54 billion pesos.
Meanwhile, Central Luzon recorded the highest amount of traded commodities with 0.69 million metric tons or 20.3% of the total.
Eastern Visayas, on the other hand, ranked first with a total value of P30.21 billion in traded commodities, or 22.2% of the whole.
By mode of transport, goods traded by water accounted for 99.9% of the total moving within the country, while the rest was by air.
The PSA compiles domestic trade statistics from the Coastal Shipping Manifests and Coastal Passenger Manifests of major ports and other active seaports listed by the Ports Authority of the Philippines throughout the country.
It also collects air waybills from Philippine Airlines as a source of domestic air trade statistics.