THE Philippines remained a major net-food importer as the country’s agricultural deficit nearly doubled in 2015, according to the latest report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Data released by the PSA showed the country’s agriculture trade deficit increased by 86.83 percent to $6.167 billion in 2015, from $3.301 billion recorded in 2014.
The PSA said the widening trade deficit was largely due to the 21.6-percent contraction in receipts from farm exports. “Total export receipts for all commodities went down by 5.3 percent in 2015. Agricultural exports also followed this trend, decreasing by 21.6 percent, from $6.578 billion in 2014 to $5.157 billion in 2015.”
Data also showed that the share of agricultural exports to total exports fell by 10.6 percent in 2014 to 8.8 percent in 2015.
Further, there was a 14.6-percent increase in agriculture imports to $11.324 billion in 2015, from $9.879 billion in 2014.
The share of agricultural imports to total imports expanded by 15.2 percent in 2015, faster than the 14.4 percent posted in 2014.
The country’s trade deficit was largest in Asean at $2.86 billion in 2015. This represented a 43.63-percent hike, from the $2-billion deficit recorded in 2014.
The country’s trade deficit with the United States more than doubled in 2015 at $1.03 billion. This represented an increase of 104.51 percent, from the $502.6-million trade gap in 2014.
“Among the major trading partners, Japan recorded a trade surplus at $478.890 million in 2015. This declined by 41 percent, from $812.28-million trade surplus in 2014,” the PSA said.
PSA data showed that receipts from the country’s food and live animals exports in 2015 were the highest at $3.22 billion. But the figure was 24.9 percent lower than the $4.28 billion recorded in 2014.
The country’s top exports were coconut oil and fresh bananas, accounting for 21.9 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, of total agriculture exports in 2015.
Revenues from coconut exports declined by 6.2 percent to $1.129 billion in 2015, from $1.203 billion in 2014. Exports of coconut oil to the US reached $534.68 million.
Earnings from shipments of fresh bananas declined by 41.8 percent to $657.87 million in 2015, from $1.13 billion posted the previous year.
“Total fresh banana exports to Japan accounted for 42.1 percent of the total banana export, or amounting to $277.27 million in 2015,” the PSA said.
PSA data also showed that the country’s purchases of food and live animals from abroad reached $8.413 billion in 2015, 15.1 percent higher than the $7.307 billion recorded in 2014.
The Philippines’s top farm imports were wheat (including spelt) and meslin with a share of 11.7 percent total value of agricultural imports.
Imports of these products grew by 28 percent to $1.319 billion in 2015, from $1.03 billion in 2014. Inward shipments of this product came mostly from the US.
The PSA said the total agricultural exports and imports included in the report were generated from all final tables of the monthly Merchandise Export Performance and consolidated monthly External Trade Performances for the country in 2015.