The Philippines posted its largest trade deficit on record in October, driven by double-digit increases in imports of intermediate and capital goods, which is expected to put more pressure on the peso.
Imports in October climbed 21.4 percent to $10.3 billion, the Philippine Statistics Agency said on Tuesday, outpacing the 3.3 percent growth in exports, which was a reversal of the previous month's 2.6 percent decline.
The Southeast Asian country's trade deficit in January-October widened to $33.9 billion, compared with a $20.1 billion gap in the same period last year, government data showed.
With the Philippine government expected to import more infrastructure-related goods for its massive "Build, Build, Build" program, the trade deficit is expected to remain a challenge for the economy.
"Capital imports and raw material growth are not expected to slow down in the near term as imports feed the burgeoning economy," said ING economist Nicholas Mapa.
The gap has contributed to a slide in the peso, which has lost more than 5 percent against the dollar so far this year.
The Philippine peso opened slightly weaker at 52.83 to the dollar after the data was released, compared with its 52.80 close the previous day.