MANILA – (UPDATE) The country's trade deficit widened to $3.9 billion in November 2018 as imports surged while exports declined, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Thursday.
Imports grew 6.8 percent to $9.47 billion last November from $8.86 in November 2017. Exports slipped 0.3 percent to $5.57 billion in November, government data showed.
Managing the trade gap will be a "challenge" this year, ATR Asset Management chief investment officer Phillip Hagedorn told ANC.
"Imports have been very strong in the Philippines and we expect them to continue especially with the Build, Build, Build program. I think the biggest risk factor for this year is the current account and the deficit widening," Hagedorn said.
The November trade gap was better than expected as car imports for the month dropped, said ING Bank senior economist Nicholas Mapa.
Going forward, the current account will likely remain in the red as imports run away from outbound shipments," Mapa said in a statement.