The Philippines, a net food importer, widened its agricultural trade deficit by 36.3 percent year-on-year to $3.22 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
PSA data showed that the country incurred the deficit as its food imports outpaced its exports in the October to December period. Figures indicated that agricultural export earnings fell by 15 percent to $1.55 billion, from last year’s $1.82 billion. Its imports, however, grew by nearly 14 percent to $4.76 billion, from the previous year’s $4.184 billion.
“The country’s total agricultural trade in the fourth quarter of 2022, which amounted to $6.32 billion, grew at an annual rate of 5.1 percent. This was lower than the annual rates of 17.6 percent and 25.5 percent recorded in the third quarter of 2022 and fourth quarter of 2021, respectively,” the PSA said.
The agency said the top 10 commodity groups in terms of value of agricultural exports contributed $1.50 billion or 96.8 percent of the total agricultural exports’ revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The combined export value of these top 10 commodity groups posted an annual decrease of -14.9 percent during the quarter. Among the commodity groups, edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit melons, which was valued at $720.94 million, comprised the largest share of 28.1 percent to the total agricultural exports,” the PSA said.
The agency also noted that cereals, including rice, accounted for the largest share at $924.56 million, or nearly 20 percent of the total agricultural imports in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The top 10 commodity groups in terms of value of agricultural imports were valued at $4.06 billion or 85.1 percent of the total agricultural imports’ revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022. Moreover, the combined agricultural import value of these top 10 commodity groups posted an annual increment of 13.7 percent during the year relative to its same quarter value in 2021,” it added.
The country’s agricultural imports from Asean member-countries in the fourth quarter of 2022 amounted to $1.57 billion or 17 percent of the country’s total imports.
“In terms of value, Indonesia was the major supplier of agricultural products to the Philippines among Asean member-countries, contributing $481.52 million or 30.7 percent to the country’s total value of agricultural imports from ASEAN member countries in the fourth quarter of 2022,” the PSA said.
Data from the agency indicated that Southeast Asian countries, the United States, Australia, and European nations recorded a trade surplus with the Philippines.
The Philippines recorded a trade surplus with Japan in the fourth quarter, but revenues from its shipments to the East Asian nation fell by 11 percent year-on-year to $204.84 million.