BPO, remittances keep deficit from straining forex buffers

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The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the country’s trade deficit ballooned by 24% to USD2.61 billion in March as, for the fifth consecutive month, imports outpaced exports. However, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the trade deficit has not strained the country’s foreign exchange buffers because of the strong inflows from the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and overseas Filipino workers. Diokno said the USD2.6 billion trade deficit is still small in proportion to the economy, and that the country still has very robust reserves because of the USD50 billion that the Philippines continues to get from BPO and OFWs. The latest PSA data showed that exports contracted by 8.2% to USD5.5 billion in March while imports rose 0.1% to USD8.12 billion. To address the deficit, the National Economic and Development Authority said the Philippines should double its efforts in marketing the country’s export products.

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