The Philippines collected over one billion US dollars more from selling their precious metals and gems on international markets in 2017 than they collectively paid for purchasing imported gold, silver, platinum, jewelry and precious stones.
Gold is the most lucrative precious metal exported from the Philippines. Total Filipino gold exports were valued at US$1.2 billion in 2017–well over 10 times the $95.3 million cost for gold imported into the Asian homeland.
The second-leading precious metals and gems subcategory exported from the Philippines is jewelry. In 2017 the Philippines shipped $41.3 million worth of exported jewelry around the globe, with $20.8 million of that total for imitation jewelry. In comparison, Filipinos imported $4.6 million worth of imitation jewelry plus $9.1 million for so-called real jewelry items.
Filipino exporters sold $7.3 million in pearls to global customers while importing about a half-million dollars ($549,000) worth of the organic gemstone.
In contrast, the Philippines ran product deficits in the international trade of silver and platinum. Philippine silver exports generated $364,000 in global sales versus $825,000 paid for silver imports. Similarly, platinum exported from the Philippines earned just $5,000 versus a $618,000 bill that Filipinos incurred for imported platinum.
Philippines Top Precious Metals and Gems Exports
Below are the major subcategories and the corresponding dollar amounts and percentages of the Philippines’ total for exported precious metals and gems.
- Gold (unwrought): US$1.2 billion (90.9% of Philippines’ exported precious metals/gems)
- Precious metal waste, scrap: $48.2 million (3.5%)
- Imitation jewelry: $20.8 million (1.5%)
- Jewelry: $20.5 million (1.5%)
- Pearls: $17.3 million (1.3%)
- Metals clad with platinum: $8.4 million (0.6%)
- Natural pearl/precious stone items: $7.3 million (0.5%)
- Silver (unwrought): $364,000 (0.02%)
- Synthetic precious stones: $327,000 (0.02%)
- Silver-clad base metals: $253,000 (0.02%)
The fastest-growing export sales category from the Philippines since 2013 was synthetic precious stones via a mammoth 32,600%. The second-strongest increase was the 6,114% acceleration for Philippine shipments of natural pearl and precious stone item, trailed by the 2,087% expansion for metals clad with platinum.
Leading the decliners among Filipino international shipments over the five-year period was unprocessed silver (down -96.3%), jewelry (down -57.3%) and pearls (down -30.5%).
Philippines Top Precious Metals and Gems Imports
The following categories of precious metals and gems attracted the highest dollar value in Philippine import purchases during 2017.
- Gold (unwrought): US$95.3 million (59% of Philippines’ imported precious metals/gems)
- Precious metal waste, scrap: $30.8 million (19.1%)
- Metals clad with platinum: $13.1 million (8.1%)
- Jewelry: $9.1 million (5.6%)
- Imitation jewelry: $4.6 million (2.9%)
- Goldsmith/silversmith wares: $3.2 million (2%)
- Other precious metal items: $892,000 (0.6%)
- Silver (unwrought): $825,000 (0.5%)
- Synthetic precious stones: $777,000 (0.5%)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $626,000 (0.4%)
The fastest-growing import purchases category for the Philippines was synthetic precious stones which appreciated by 19,325% from just $4,000 in 2013. Metals clad with platinum improved by 6,047% followed by other precious metal items (up 5,847%) and goldsmith or silversmith wares (up 5,474%).
Three subcategories declined over the five-year period: gold (down -56.5%), imitation jewelry (down -16.2%) and unmounted and unset diamonds (down -15.5%).
The World Factbook, Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 31, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on January 31, 2019
World’s Top Exports, Gold Exports by Country. Accessed on January 31, 2019
World’s Richest Countries, Top Jewelry Exporters. Accessed on January 31, 2019