The Philippines exported US$1.5 billion worth of precious metals and gems on international markets in 2018, well in excess of the $256.9 million spend by Filipino importers on those same commodities.
Gold is the most lucrative precious metal exported from the Philippines. Total Filipino gold exports were valued at US$1.2 billion in 2018. That dollar amount is about 10 times the $129.6 million cost spend by importers bringing gold into the Philippine homeland.
Interestingly, Filipino exporters also sold $15.3 million worth of pearls to global customers while earning one million dollars of the organic gemstone.
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$1.1 billion (78.2% of Philippine-exported precious metals/gems)
- Gold-clad base metals or silver $108 million (7.4%)
- Silver (unwrought): $83.3 million (5.7%)
- Precious metal waste, scrap: $50.3 million (3.5%)
- Jewelry: $24 million (1.6%)
- Imitation jewelry: $19.5 million (1.3%)
- Pearls: $15.3 million (1%)
- Metals clad with platinum: $8.5 million (0.6%)
- Natural pearl/precious stone items: $6 million (0.4%)
- Synthetic precious stones: $1.3 million (0.1%)
The fastest-growing top export sales subcategory from the Philippines since 2014 was gold-clad base metals or silver via its massive 112,412% gain. The second-strongest increase was the 20,679% acceleration for Philippine shipments of natural pearl and precious stone items, trailed by the 19,114% improvement for synthetic precious stones and the still-robust 1,026% increase for metals clad with platinum then the 600.1% improvement for silver exported from the Philippines.
There were three decliners namely exported jewelry (down -49.7%), pearls (down -43.8%) then imitation jewelry (down -14.3%).
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 2018.
- Gold (unwrought): US$129.6 million (50.4% of Philippine-imported precious metals/gems)
- Coins: $82.5 million (32.1%)
- Metals clad with platinum: $15.3 million (6%)
- Jewelry: $10.7 million (4.2%)
- Goldsmith/silversmith wares: $6.5 million (2.5%)
- Imitation jewelry: $4.9 million (1.9%)
- Silver (unwrought): $3.1 million (1.2%)
- Other precious metal items: $1.1 million (0.4%)
- Pearls: $1 million (0.4%)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $939,000 (0.4%)
The fastest-growing import purchases subcategory for the Philippines was coins which appreciated by 124,853% from just $66,000 in 2016. Unwrought silver improved by 7,765% trailed by goldsmith or silversmith (up 4,548%) then jewelry (up 890.1%).
The most severe downturns over the five-year period belong to unwrought gold (down -62.6%) and imitation jewelry (down -31%).
The World Factbook, Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 5, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 5, 2019
World’s Top Exports, Gold Exports by Country. Accessed on April 5, 2019
World’s Richest Countries, Top Jewelry Exporters. Accessed on April 5, 2019