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Agriculture trade deficit hits $2.4B in third quarter

AGRICULTURAL TRADE was in deficit by $2.4 billion in the third quarter, with imports of grain products worth over $900 million keeping the trade balance in the negative, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Monday.

The deficit widened 18.3% from a year earlier, with the growth in imports (15.8% to $4.16 billion) outstripping that of exports (12.5% to $1.76 billion).

Total trade — the combination of export and imports– rose 14.8% year on year to $5.93 billion during the period, slowing from the second-quarter growth rate of 33.6%. A year earlier, the equivalent growth rate was 0.4%.

Agricultural imports accounted for 13.5% of the overall import bill in the period, with cereals representing the single largest category at $908.66 million.

Agricultural exports accounted for 8.9% of exports overall.

The top 10 export commodity groups were valued at $1.69 billion, or 96.1% of all export revenue.

The top exports were edible fruits and nuts and peel of citrus fruit and melons, which were valued at $471.71 million, or 26.8% of all farm exports.

Imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) amounted to $1.37 billion, or 16.3% of all imports from ASEAN. Indonesia was the top source of farm goods with $401.21 million, or 29.3%. Vietnam followed with $326.95 million, and then Malaysia with $266.19 million.

The top commodities imported from ASEAN countries were animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products, prepared edible fats, and animal or vegetable waxes ($391.25 million), followed by cereals ($288.24 million), and miscellaneous edible preparations ($287.24 million).

Malaysia was the top destination within ASEAN of Philippine agricultural exports, accounting for $64.45 million. Thailand tallied $36.60 million, followed by Indonesia with $35.44 million. Agricultural exports accounted for 6.0% of total exports to ASEAN.

The top commodities exported to ASEAN were tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes ($58.63 million), animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products, prepared edible fats, and animal or vegetable waxes ($55.57 million), and miscellaneous edible preparations ($14.03 million).

The Netherlands was the top European market, accounting for $162.59 million worth of exports, while Spain was the leading source of agricultural imports, shipping $93.77 million. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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