The cargo ship Wan Hai arrives at Manila's international container port. Photo: AFP, Jay Directo

Philippines January exports were up 22.5% year on year, with import growth slowing to 9.1%, helping pull the country’s trade deficit from US$2.6 billion down to US$2.3 billion. Nomura analysts see upside risk to their 2017 GDP forecast of 6.3% on the new data. Strong growth and higher inflation make policy rate hikes likely in the first half of 2017. The export growth was largely driven by manufactured goods, which jumped 23.1%