The experiment was conducted to assess the effects of phytase supplementation to diets with two levels of phosphorus (P) on ileal and faecal digestibility of nutrients and phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen and energy balances in growing pigs. Fifteen Landrace × Large White × Chinese Black barrows, with an initial live weight of 22·2 kg fitted with a simple T-cannula at the distal ileum, were randomly allocated to one of the five diet treatments, according to a of cross-over design with two periods. The basal diet was typical of southern Asia with maize/rice and rapeseed/cottonseed meals. A normal (NP, supplemented with 4·8 g/kg of CaHPO4) and a low-P diet (LP, not supplemented with CaHPO4) were formulated. Both of the diets were supplemented with and without Natuphos® Phytase (500 phytase units (FTU) per kg diet). An enzyme hydrolysed casein (EHC) diet (diet 5) was also formulated to determine the flow of the ileal endogenous amino acids (AA). The results showed that both the higher level P treatment and phytase supplementation increased (P < 0·05) the apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and energy. Phytase supplementation also increased (P < 0·05) the AID of Ca and P. Pigs given the higher level of P or the phytase diet increased apparent faecal digestibility (AFD) of DM, OM and energy. Phytase supplementation reduced (P < 0·01) faecal Ca output and increased (P < 0·05) proportional Ca retention. The higher level of P increased (P < 0·001) total P intake and P retention (P < 0·05) but did not affect the proportion of P retained (P > 0·05). Phytase supplementation did not affect P balance (P > 0·05). Pigs given the higher level P or the phytase diet had reduced (P < 0·05) faecal energy concentration, although there was no affect on urine energy output, digestible energy (DE) and metabolizable energy (ME). However, there were P × phytase effects on DE and ME (P < 0·05). There were no P × phytase effects (P > 0·05) on AID of AA except with isoleucine (P < 0·01). Phytase supplementation increased (P < 0·05) AID of histidine, isoleucine, threonine and glutamine and there was a numeric increase in AID for most of the other AA. There was P × phytase effect on AFD of histidine (P < 0·05), isoleucine (P < 0·05), methionine (P < 0·05) and threonine (P < 0·01). Phytase supplementation increased the AFD of isoleucine (P < 0·05), threonine (P < 0·01) and tended to increase AFD of tyrosine (P < 0·05). The level of MCP affected the AFD of lysine (P < 0·01), threonine (P < 0·05), aspartic acid (P < 0·05). Phytase supplementation increased true ileal digestibility of histidine (P < 0·05), isoleucine (P < 0·001), threonine (P = 0·001), glutamine (P < 0·01), respectively. These results indicate that phytase used in the present study was able to improve the utilization of DM, OM, CP, Ca, P, energy and amino acid in a maize/rice and rapeseed/cottonseed meal based diet and reduce total output of them in manure.