In 2015, the Philippines shipped US$860.2 million worth of copper products to its international customers. That dollar amount represents a -36.8% drop from the $1.4 billion in global sales five years earlier in 2011.
Year over year, the value of copper exports from the Philippines improved by 30.6% compared to the $658.9 million in revenue garnered during 2014.
The two-digit Harmonized Tariff System code (HTS) prefix for copper is 74. Please note that high-level category includes the base metal copper, copper foil, scrap, wire, pipes and other items made from copper.
Copper is the preferred electrical conductor in most categories of electrical wiring. Other notable uses for copper are in electric motors, integrated circuits, printed circuit boards and magnetrons in micrwave ovens.
Read on to find out which country singlehandedly bought half of Filipino copper exports during 2015.
Philippines Copper Exports by Country
By far, Japanese importers paid for the highest dollar worth of copper and related items exported from the Philippines in 2015. Together with the nine other countries below, the following top 10 buyers accounted for 99.8% of total copper exports shipped from the Philippines.
- Japan: $431.1 million (50.1% of Philippine copper exports)
- South Korea: $116.7 million (13.6%)
- China: $80.2 million (9.3%)
- Thailand: $57.5 million (6.7%)
- Indonesia: $51.5 million (6%)
- Vietnam: $45.1 million (5.3%)
- Taiwan: $38.5 million (4.5%)
- Malaysia: $23.7 million (3%)
- Hong Kong: $11.3 million (1.3%)
- Singapore: $2.5 million (0.3%)
Japanese copper imports from the Philippines almost tripled in value, up 274% from 2011 to 2015.
Admittedly involving smaller amounts, the value of Filipino copper exports to Indonesia rose by an even faster pace up 316% over the same period.
The remaining eight countries reduced purchases of copper exported from the Philippines. Declines ranged from a -15% cutback in Filipino copper sales to Taiwan to a -84% drop to Thailand.
The Philippines imported $436.3 million worth of copper and copper products in 2015, a metric clearly outpaced by the $860.2 million in exports under the same product category. The resulting $423.9 million surplus clearly shows the powerful overall trade advantage that the Philippines has for lumber and copper products.
Below are highest trade surpluses that the Philippines earned in 2015 by country.
- Japan: US$359.2 million (net export surplus up 578.2% since 2011)
- Vietnam: $43.5 million (down -70.2%)
- Thailand: $39.7 million (down -88%)
- Indonesia: $28.6 million (down -190.6%)
- China: $26.8 million (down -91.2%)
- Malaysia: $8.6 million (up 266.3%)
- Canada: $184,000 (down -101.4%)
- Afghanistan: $29,000 (up from nil)
- North Korea: $24,000 (up from nil)
- Nigeria: $21,000 (up from nil)
Japan provided the Philippines with its highest surplus win in the international trade of lumber and related products, similarly the Filipino product surplus with Japan grew at the fastest pace. The above positive cashflows confirm the Philippines competitive advantage for this specific product category in its trade with the above countries.
Below are the top 10 countries that ran up the highest deficits trading with copper and copper-related items at the Philippines’ expense during 2015:
- Taiwan: -US$43 million (net export deficit down -28.3% since 2011)
- Bulgaria: -$8.7 million (up 174.5%)
- South Korea: -$7.7 million (down -104.7%)
- Hong Kong: -$6.9 million (down -112.8%)
- Peru: -$4.2 million (up from nil)
- Germany: -$3.2 million (down -17%)
- India: -$2.5 million (down -40.7%)
- Mexico: -$866,000 (up 56.3%)
- Spain: -$859,000 (down -276%)
- Australia: -$841,000 (down -99.3%)
Taiwan created the biggest trade deficit with the Philippines for the international trade of copper and copper products. Bulgaria was responsible for the fastest-growing Filipino trade deficit related to copper, up 174.5%. In turn, these negative cashflows highlight the competitive disadvantages the Philippines has for this specific product category. However, it also signals opportunities for timber-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand among the 100 million-plus Filipino consumers.
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 22, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 22, 2016
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 22, 2016
Wikipedia, Copper. Accessed on August 22, 2016
Wikipedia, Base metal. Accessed on August 22, 2016