The agricultural trade gap widens in the second quarter

The country’s agricultural trade deficit rose 15% to 2.72 billion pesos in the second quarter of 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

The increase in the trade deficit was mainly due to increased imports of food/agricultural products during the period, chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Michael Ricafort, told the Manila Times in a message. “[This is] also inflated by higher world prices, such as pork/meat, due to ASF (African swine fever) for about three years, rice, sugar, fish and other food/agricultural products in the aim to increase local supplies and bring down prices and overall inflation,” he added.

In its preliminary report on “Highlights of Agricultural Commodity Foreign Trade Statistics in the Philippines,” the PSA said overall agricultural trade stood at $6.95 billion from April to June, up 25 % compared to the $5.56 billion posted during the same period last year. year.

Total agricultural exports rose 32.4% to $2.12 billion from $1.6 billion year-on-year.

Exports to ASEAN member countries totaled $336.56 million in the second quarter of 2022, with Malaysia being the top destination for agricultural exports valued at $158.58 million. On the other hand, exports to EU member countries amounted to $494.18 million. Among EU member countries, the Netherlands was the country’s largest buyer of agricultural products worth $274.60 million, or 55.6% of total agricultural exports to the region.

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At the same time, total imports of agricultural products reached $4.84 billion, a growth of 22% compared to the $3.96 billion recorded from June to April 2021.

During the period, imports from the ASEAN region amounted to $1.56 billion, with Vietnam accounting for the highest import value among ASEAN member countries, reaching $420. .38 million. Regarding imports from EU countries, which closed at $462.75 million, Spain was the country’s leading supplier of agricultural products with an import value of $114.82 million. dollars. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“Double-digit growth in agricultural imports and exports attributed to relatively higher prices of major global commodities largely driven by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict since February 24, 2022, which has also led to higher inflation and added to the prices of agricultural products,” said Ricafort.

He also noted that the proposed extension of reduced/lower tariffs on agricultural products as part of the non-monetary measures aimed at mitigating inflationary pressures and headline inflation would still lead to increased imports of agricultural products, “but offset by the downward correction in the world price of wheat, soybeans, among others over the past few weeks/months.”

“However, the new administration wants to increase productivity and reduce the cost of producing rice, sugar and other agricultural products in order to reduce dependence on imports, enhance food security and create more jobs and other business/economic opportunities as well as reducing poverty, particularly in the agricultural sector, which contributes less than 10% of the GDP (gross domestic product) but employs about 25% of the country’s total workers” , added Ricafort.