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Agri trade deficit widens in third quarter to $3.3 billion


THE deficit in the trade of agricultural goods widened 39.6% year on year to $3.313 billion in the third quarter, according to preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

In a statement, the PSA said that overall trade in agriculture — the sum of exports and imports — grew 17.3% to $7.027 billion, slowing from the 25.4% growth rate in the previous quarter. The year-earlier growth rate was 16.0%.

Agricultural imports grew 23.7% to $5.171 billion, against the 22.1% growth rate from the previous quarter and the 16.3% rate posted a year earlier.

During the quarter, cereals accounted for $1.107 billion or 21.4% of agricultural imports. This was followed by meat and edible meat offal ($628.34 million), and animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes ($542.91 million).

Imports of agricultural products from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) accounted for 16.0% of the total, equivalent to $1.812 billion. Indonesia was the main source of agricultural imports in the region with $499.96 million.

Most imported agricultural goods from ASEAN consisted of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes ($497.12 million), cereals ($367.03 million), and miscellaneous edible preparations ($348.65 million).

Exports of agricultural products rose 2.7% year on year to $1.856 billion during the quarter. This compares with the 33.5% growth rate in the second quarter and the 15.3% posted a year earlier.

In the third quarter, exports of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes accounted for 27.3% of all agricultural exports. They were valued at $506.54 million. Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit melons accounted for $470.63 million and preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts, or other parts of plants $222.49 million.

Agricultural exports to ASEAN amounted to $236.04 million or 7.0% of total trade. Malaysia was the leading destination for agricultural exports at $102.69 million.

Exports of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes to ASEAN totaled $90.95 million. Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes were valued at $60.94 million and preparations of cereals, flour, starch, or milk and pastrycooks’ products $17.00 million.

In Europe, Spain was the leading source of agricultural goods worth $139.62 million, while the Netherlands was the main export destination with $176.76 million. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona 

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