Exports jumped 16.5% in December

Full-year growth of 7.6% misses gov’t target


Shipping containers of Philippine products for export sit stacked along the docks of the international container port in Manila on Sept. 11, 2012. Exports climbed 16.5 percent in December to $3.97 billion, the biggest rise in three months. AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO

Exports climbed 16.5 percent in December to $3.97 billion, the biggest rise in three months, helped by sales of tropical fruits and some nontraditional items such as petroleum products, the National Statistics Office reported Tuesday.

However, electronics and semiconductor shipments contracted 5.5 percent in December from a year ago. For the entire 2012, shipments from the sector fell 5.2 percent against an industry forecast of flat exports from 2011.

Overall growth in exports in 2012 has been restrained, due largely to lackluster global demand for the country’s main semiconductors and electronics shipments. The latest data brought exports for the whole of 2012 to $52 billion, up 7.6 percent from a year ago.

Electronics made up nearly 38 percent of December export revenues, with woodcrafts and furniture as the second-biggest export item, comprising 4.9 percent of the total.

Exports to Japan, the country’s top export destination in December, were up 12.7 percent from a year earlier. Exports to the United States, the second-biggest market, dropped 5.9 percent from a year earlier. Shipments to China, the third-biggest market, were down 10.8 percent from a year ago. Eastern Asia— the top export destination by economic bloc, accounting for 48.7 percent of total shipments—rose 18.2 percent from a year earlier. Southeast Asia and the European Union were the second and third biggest economic blocs.

The export data “is going to lead to a possible upward revision of our already very good growth figure for 2012. This has not been factored in when the data was released last month. The non-electronics portion is quite encouraging and could mean that the weaker prints for November and the prior months were temporary,” said Emilio Neri, economist at Bank of the Philippine Islands.

“However, for the electronics sector, it is still a little bit worrisome because we are seeing significant rebounds elsewhere in the region and yet we seem to be lagging behind. It is an area of concern and should be studied closely, so that the appropriate policies can be put in place to address (the weakness),” he noted.

Economist Benjamin Diokno of the UP School of Economics said the annual growth was “unspectacular” as it was less than the adjusted growth target of 8 percent and the Development Budget Coordination Committee-approved export growth assumption of 10 percent. The original growth target was 12 percent.

Nevertheless, the Philippines’ export performance reflected the generally improved prospects in the global economy on the back of policy support implemented by major economies, most notably in the euro area, the United States and Japan, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement. Balisacan is also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Product diversification and expanded markets opened by free-trade agreements signed by the Philippines with countries such as Japan, Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand also helped boost outbound shipments, the Department of Trade and Industry said in a separate statement.

Neda said the Philippines posted the highest annual growth in merchandise exports in December 2012 among its trade-oriented neighbors in East and Southeast Asia. Other Asian economies that recorded positive export growth during the month were Hong Kong (14.8 percent), China (14.1 percent), Vietnam (14.1 percent), Thailand (13.5 percent) and Taiwan (9 percent). With a report from Reuters

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  • Joseph

    Notice that this article doesn’t mention anything about a stronger currency hurting exports. A strong currency is not the final say on exports; economic policy and stability are!

  • Jose

    Export to China and the US dropped but overall export still grows. Good job, meaning we are less dependent on these 2 giants which also means we will be less vulnerable to their tantrums. Ditto for electronics product contracting and yet export still grows.  Diversify, diversify, diversify both the products and the markets.  

    Also, businessmen should focus on manufacturing in-country rather than importing cheap ones. It is a win-win cycle – if people have jobs they will have money to buy your products which will ensure that your business stays profitable.  When America brought their manufacturing plant to China, China progressed while America regressed.  Now these same businesses cannot sell a thing to jobless Americans which in turn put their economy to a standstill.  And the thing is, through technology transfer China already got their products copied that even if they return to the US mainland they need to invent new products to compete with China!

  • marivon

    Hope for the best. Trolls eat your hearts out. Let us look for better destination other than China.

  • juan_liwanag

    We should be happy that PHL is becoming less dependent on electronics, which used to constitute more than 50% of our exports. It’s good that furniture, tropical fruits, petroleum products and others are stepping up. I hope more processed foods could be developed and be made more world class enough to wow the whole world. If we do this well, we might even be less dependent on OFW remittances.

  • Jean Claude

    Good Job! :D nakakaawa na talaga yung mga crabs nag-iimbento nalang ng mga sasabihin kasi hindi nila matanggap na gumaganda ang ekonomiya natin :D

  • noypi_07

    many semicon/electronics company moved to neighboring countries partly because of PH repressive policies and mainly due to more attractive tax breaks by another country like Thailand.

    exporting Petroleum Products? or was it Petroleum by-Products?

    • Jean Claude

      not really. we do export petroleum products. Petron has a HUGE petrochemical plant in Bataan. I know it because my tito works there :) 

    • ern

      a product is something intentionally manufactured. A by-product  is something else you get from the process.


    I did not know the Philippines is exporting petroleum products.Wow!!

    Keep it up PNoy!!

  • tower_of_power


    • Jean Claude

      avoid typing in all caps because it’s incomprehensible.

    • ronnie

      How about you, what have you done to help the government and the Filipino people?  Madalas kasi, ang mga walang nagagawa ang mabilis na magngangawa.  So sad…

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