Philippine merchandise exports topped those of other Asian countries in the first 11 months of 2012, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said Thursday.
But private economists believe a strong rebound in outbound shipments may still be a long way off.
Merchandise exports earnings in November grew 5.5 percent to $3.551 billion, from the $3.366 billion seen the previous year. This brought year-to-date exports to $48.026 billion—7 percent up from the $44.898 billion recorded in the same period of 2011, the National Statistics Office said.
The growth was due to higher value in shipments of such commodities as metal components, woodcraft and furniture, electronic products, cathodes, refined copper and ignition wiring sets, and other parts used in manufacturing vehicles, aircraft and ships.
On a monthly basis, exports contracted by 19.4 percent from the $4.408 billion posted in October 2012.
“I expect similar (growth) trends in December, but I think a complete rebound isn’t forthcoming because the [economies of] US and Europe have not recovered,” Cid L. Terosa of the University of Asia and the Pacific said via text message.
For Benjamin E. Diokno of the UP School of Economics, the growth in November exports was “lackluster.”
Diokno said the outlook for Philippine exports continues to be “gloomy” due to three factors: a world economy that remains weak, an appreciating peso, and heavy reliance on electronic products.
“Exports of electronic products contracted by 5.19 year-to-date. This problem could be both transitory and structural. A strong recovery in December is unlikely,” Diokno said via e-mail.
Electronics accounted for 48.8 percent of total exports revenue last November, earning $1.734 billion—13.3 percent up from the $1.523 billion reported a year ago. Semiconductors was the top earner in the electronics sector with $1.402 billion in receipts—a 15.5-percent growth from the $1.213 billion seen in November 2011. But on a monthly basis, electronic products, as well as semiconductors, dropped 8.8 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively.
The next-best performers were woodcraft and furniture ($271.32 million, 56 percent up from $173.9 million), apparel and clothing accessories ($113.7 million, 13.1 percent down from $130.76 million), and electrical wiring harness for motor vehicles ($109.7 million, 6.2 percent up from $103.31 million).
Metal components excluding brakes grew the fastest among the country’s top exports with shipments worth $129.05 million—163.5 percent up from $48.97 million.
Receipts from the top 10 exports reached $2.557 billion, accounting for 72 percent of the total.
Japan was the top destination of Philippine exports accounting for 20.8-percent share of the total with receipts worth $740.21 million.
The United States followed with $458.37 million in receipts, while Hong Kong received shipments worth $373.81 million.