February 26, 2013 / 1:15 AM / in 5 years

Philippines December imports up 13.2 pct on yr, 16-mth high

* Electronics imports up 1.7 pct yr/yr at $1.29 bln in Dec
    * Dec trade deficit at $1.28 bln vs yr-ago deficit of $1.23
bln
    * 2012 trade deficit $9.67 bln vs $12.2 bln deficit in 2011

    MANILA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Philippine imports in December
climbed 13.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics office
said on Tuesday.
    
KEY DATA          Dec    Nov    Oct    Sept   Aug    Jul    Jun
Imports ($ bln)   5.25   5.14   5.24   5.27   5.06   4.96   5.09
yr/yr chg (pct)   13.2    2.3    4.3    3.6   -0.4   -0.8   13.0
    NOTE: Some previous numbers have been revised.
    
    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 December were up 1.7 percent from a year
earlier, after an 8.8 percent decline in November.
    - The Philippines' import sector struggled in 2012 mainly
because of sluggish demand for the country's electronics
products such as semiconductors.
    - For the entire 2012, imports rose 1.9 percent, way below
the central bank's growth forecast of 7 percent. Exports rose
7.6 percent versus the central bank's growth forecast of 8
percent.
    - Accounting for about two-fifths of the country's GDP,
exports in December climbed 16.5 percent from a year earlier, 
the biggest rise in three months, helped by sales of tropical
fruits and some non-traditional items such as petroleum
products. 
    - The Southeast Asian country is targeting GDP growth of 6
to 7 percent this year, after a faster-than-expected 6.6 percent
expansion in 2012. 

 (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

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