MANILA, Philippines – Trade in commodities in the country remained weak in the first quarter, with the effects of the pandemic lingering on fragile demand and restrictions on movement.
Based on preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the volume and value of goods traded within the country both declined from January to March.
The overall value of goods traded in the first three-month period fell 33 percent to 95.5 billion pesos from 143 billion pesos during the same period last year.
In terms of volume, the amount of domestic trade reached 4.57 million metric tons, down 5.3% from 4.83 million tons in the previous year.
The pandemic continues to dampen domestic trade as mobility remains an issue, particularly at the end of the first quarter, when quarantine restrictions were reimposed.
By product group, the PSA said manufactured products classified mainly by material were superior in terms of commercial quantity, accounting for 30% of the total.
Next came goods and transactions not elsewhere classified, as well as food and live animals, which accounted for 25 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
However, machinery and transport equipment made up the bulk of the total value, accounting for 38 percent or 36.26 billion pesos.
Manufactured products classified mainly by material, valued at 19.7 billion pesos, came second, followed by food and live animals for an amount of 19.51 billion pesos.
During the quarter, the trade balance – the difference between the value of outputs and the value of inputs – was most favorable in the Eastern Visayas, which recorded a trade balance of 17.24 billion pesos; Central visayas, 6.4 billion pesos; and Western Visayas, 5.83 billion pesos.
Northern Mindanao, on the other hand, had the highest negative trade balance of 10.32 billion pesos in the first quarter. It was followed by Metro Manila with 9.71 billion pesos and the Bangsamoro region with 7.96 billion pesos.
Meanwhile, the Central Visayas recorded the highest amount of products traded with 2.65 million tonnes, or 58% share of the total.
The Eastern Visayas, on the other hand, ranked first with a total value of goods traded of 25.7 billion pesos or 27 percent of the whole.
The PSA compiles domestic trade statistics from coasting trade manifests and coastal passenger manifests from major ports and other active seaports listed by Philippine port authorities nationwide.
It also collects Philippine Airlines air waybills as a source of domestic air trade statistics.