* Electronics imports down 15.3 pct yr/yr to $1.44 bln
* May trade deficit $454 million
* Jan-May trade deficit at $3.22 billion
MANILA, July 25 (Reuters) - Philippine imports in May climbed 10.1 percent from a year earlier, the statistics office said on Wednesday.
KEY DATA May Apr Mar Feb Jan Dec Nov
Imports ($ bln) 5.39 4.77 5.37 5.0 5.13 4.63 5.0 yr/yr chg (pct) 10.1 -13.6 -3.3 2.5 -3.2 -6.4 0.7
KEY POINTS: - The country's largest imports are inputs used by the semiconductor and electronics industry, also the biggest export sector and a major contributor to the economy. Imports of electronic parts slid 15.3 percent in May from a year earlier after the previous month's 22 percent drop. - Philippine exports in May rose 19.7 percent from a year earlier, its fastest growth in 17 months, helped by a low base from last year, boding well for the country's overall growth this year.
- The government has forecast exports would grow 10 percent this year, but it has revised down its 2012 imports growth forecast to 12 percent from 15 percent as manufacturers feel the brunt of the global economic slowdown.
- The Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc cut its export growth forecast this year to 5-7 percent from 10-15 percent on slowing external demand, although the group is hopeful of a rebound in orders in the second half after current inventory cuts stabilise.
- Apart from electronic parts and fuel, other top imports are cereals such as rice, electrical and industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron, steel and metal scraps.
- The Philippine central bank is widely expected to keep its key policy rate on hold for a third meeting in a row on Thursday, with the economy seen steaming ahead on the back of strong domestic demand while inflation stays on target this year and next.
- The country's economic managers believe this year's economic growth target of 5 to 6 percent is achievable after the economy's faster-than-expected expansion of 6.4 percent in the first three months of the year.
- In 2011, GDP growth was 3.7 percent, below the government's forecast.
(Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)