Electronics exports, which have weakened in the past few years, are poised for a recovery in the second half, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
The Neda said it remained optimistic that the country’s exports would grow this year and continue to be led by electronics despite the anemic numbers in the first five months.
Citing reports from industry analysts, Economic Planning Secretary and Neda Director General Arsenio Balisacan said there was a good chance that global demand for electronics, especially semiconductors, would increase in the coming months as indicated by the gradual buildup of orders.
“International industry analysts see that the semiconductor industry will grow moderately in 2013. This may signal a recovery in the country’s electronics exports in the coming months following a series of contractions since December 2012,” Balisacan said in a statement.
The National Statistics Office earlier reported that the Philippines’ merchandise exports fell 6 percent year on year to $21.09 billion in January to May. Imports for the same period contracted by 3.6 percent to $24.76 billion.
Since a significant portion of the country’s imports are inputs used to manufacture intermediate electronics, the leading export earner for the Philippines, the contraction in imports in the previous months indicated an uncertain outlook among Filipino exporters on global demand.
The anemic global demand has been blamed on the fragile economic conditions of key export markets, led by industrialized countries.
Besides the Philippines, other Asian countries posted year-on-year contractions in imports in the first five months of this year. Japan’s imports fell 8.7 percent, Singapore by 4.4 percent, South Korea by 2.8 percent, Indonesia by 1.8 percent and Taiwan by 0.9 percent.
However, Balisacan said that in the case of the Philippines, the decline in imports from January to May was partly due to a drop in the prices of the imports and not entirely because of falling volumes.
Balisacan expressed optimism that imports would rise in the months ahead to support the expansion plans of local firms. He cited results of a recent survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on business sentiment showing that many firms in the country intended to expand.
The country’s chief economist added that consumption was seen to sustain its rising trend, giving a lift to imports of consumer goods in the second half.
Meantime, the government earlier said it would support efforts aimed at helping Filipino exporters diversify their products and reduce the heavy dependence on electronics, which accounted for about 35 percent of total export receipts.
The government is updating the Philippine Development Plan for 2010 to 2016. Balisacan said the updated version, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, would include government programs that aimed at developing other industries besides electronics.