Manila, Philippines -The Philippines posted a bigger trade deficit in October compared with a year ago on the back of a sharp contraction in exports while imports recorded a milder decline.

The trade gap widened by 26 percent to $4.17 billion in October from $3.3 billion in the same month last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday.

The latest reading was also larger than the $3.58 billion trade gap in September.

A trade deficit happens when the country’s import bill is larger than its export sales.

Exports plummeted 17.5 percent year-on-year to $6.36 billion during the month, with electronic products registering the steepest decline.

The decline in imports was slower at 4.4 percent to $10.54 billion in October.

According to the PSA, total external trade declined by 9.8 percent to $16.9 billion in October from $18.74 billion a year ago.