REFILE-Philippines' Sept imports up 3.6 pct on year

Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:11am EST

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* Electronics imports down 5.8 pct y/y at $1.36 bln

* Sept trade deficit at $483 million

* Jan-Sept trade deficit at $5.97 billion

MANILA, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Philippine imports in September rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, the statistics office said on Tuesday.

KEY DATA Sept Aug July Jun May Apr Mar Imports ($ bln) 5.27 5.06 4.96 5.09 5.39 4.77 5.37 yr/yr chg (pct) 3.6 -0.4 -0.8 13.0 10.1 -13.6 -3.3

KEY POINTS:

- The country's largest imports are inputs used by the semiconductor and electronics industry, also the biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy. Imports of electronic parts in September fell 5.8 percent from a year earlier, after a 5.7 percent rise in August.

- The government has trimmed its imports growth forecast for this year to 12 percent from 15 percent as manufacturers feel the brunt of the global economic slowdown.

- Exports, which account for about two-fifths of the country's GDP, jumped 22.8 percent in September from a year earlier as top electronics shipments rebounded after five straight months of contraction.

- The Philippine central bank, which will hold its last policy meeting this year on Dec. 13, cut its key rate by 25 basis points to a new low of 3.5 percent in October to help manage capital inflows that have kept the peso rising against the U.S. dollar and to boost growth amid weak external demand.

- Philippine economic growth likely defied the global downdraft and picked up modestly in the third quarter, helped by strong domestic demand and a late spurt in exports, but a December rate cut may still on the cards to contain the peso's strength.

- The government will release the third-quarter GDP data at around 0200 GMT on Wednesday. (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

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