MANILA, Philippines - Merchandise imports posted a high double-digit growth of 45.3% in April from a year ago, owing to the surge in demand for electronic products.
Data from the National Statistics Office showed the country's total import bill amounted to $4.441 billion in April compared to $3.057 billion the previous year.
April's annual import growth was a reversal of the 37.1% decline in 2009. It was faster than March's annual growth of 38.9%.
However, compared to March's total import bill of $4.543, imports in April were down 2.2%.
Purchases of the country's main import item, electronics, surged 63.7% to $1.514 billion from $924.74 million last year. Electronics accounted for 34.1% of the aggregate import revenue.
The surge in electronics bodes well for exports in coming months as these products are reassembled for shipment later.
For the first 4 months of the year, total imports went up 35.7% to $17.175 billion from $12.656 billion last year. Similarly, merchandise exports went up 39.1% to $14.925 billion from $10.730 billion during the 4-month period.
The Philippines posted a trade deficit of $2.250 billion for January to April, higher than the $1.926 billion deficit in the same period of 2009.
Japan remained the country's largest source of imports in April, recording payments worth $561.61 million, 12.7% of the total bill. This was a 42.9% increase from the Arpil 2009 level of $3393.13 million.
The United States came in second with $480.76 million or an 10.8% share of the import bill, followed by Singapore ($445.15 million), China ($355.28 million), and Thailand ($284.13 million).
The central bank expects imports to grow 18% this year and in 2011.
Apart from electronic parts, the Philippines' other top imports are fuel, electrical and industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron, steel and textiles.