A last-minute spike in exports and a steady drop in imported raw materials led to a narrower trade gap in 2019, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
Philippine manufacturers enjoyed a 21.4 percent lift in export items in December, the fastest growth in over two years. The outbound products were cumulatively worth 5.7 billion dollars.
The surge is led by a fivefold increase in cathodes of refined copper, followed by a 35 percent jump in exports of fresh bananas. Gold also enjoyed a 30 percent lift, while supply of electronic products, which account for 60 percent of shipments to the global market, rose by a fourth.
December shipments led to 177.7 billion dollars in total external trade in 2019, with a 37-billion-dollar gap as imports continued to outweigh export receipts. Exports actually picked up by 1.5 percent last year, versus a 4.8 percent contraction in imports.