Trade, manufacturing post double-digit growth in February – PSA
MANILA — Trade and manufacturing both grew double-digits in February, government data released Tuesday showed, supporting expectations of sustained robust economic growth in the first quarter.
Merchandise exports rose for the third straight month last February, climbing 11 percent to $4.782 billion from $4.31 billion a year ago, preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.
Exports growth in February reversed the 4.5-percent decline posted during the same month last year, albeit slower than the 24-percent jump in January.
State planning agency National Economic and Development Authority attributed the year-on-year increase in sales of Philippine-made goods abroad to “growth in volume of manufactured goods (up 6.2 percent), minerals (up 99.5 percent), and petroleum products (up 224.6 percent).”
“The healthy growth in Philippine exports was mainly driven by higher exports to East Asian countries, comprising 48.3 percent of total exports. Receipts from Hong Kong and China surged by 66 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.
Also, “exports to Asean countries grew by 18.8 percent in the same period, a good sign that the country is forging stronger connections with its Asian neighbors,” added Pernia, also the NEDA chief.
As for imports, the freight-on-board value of products from overseas jumped 20.3 percent to $6.511 billion in February from $5.414 billion in 2016 to post seven consecutive months of growth.
Year-on-year imports growth last February was the fastest since August last year as well as reversed the 5.6-percent drop a year ago.
NEDA said the rise in imports was “led by volume increase in the purchases of mineral fuels and lubricants (up 97.3 percent), raw materials and intermediate goods (up 7.9 percent), capital goods (up 18 percent), and consumer goods (up 21.5 percent).”
Two-way trade hence grew 16.1 percent to $11.293 billion in February from $9.725 billion a year ago, although the balance of trade in goods remained at a deficit of $1.728 billion, wider than the $1.104-billion trade deficit posted during the same month last year.
“We see this as a strong follow-through to the 14.2-percent growth of total Philippine trade recorded in January, keeping our country’s economy on-track in sustaining its momentum of growth,” said Pernia, who had said the economy likely grew about 7 percent during the first quarter.
“The performance of trade in the first two months of the year is a good indication that we are on an upward trajectory. With Asean chairmanship and China’s rebalancing to a more consumer-oriented growth, the Philippines is expected to have expansions in terms of products and markets,” according to Pernia.
As for manufacturing, the PSA’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries for February 2017 showed that the volume of production index (VoPI) grew 10.7 percent, faster than the 7.1-percent growth recorded in January but slighty slower than the 11.6-percent growth registered a year ago.
NEDA said the double-digit rise in VoPI came on the back of an “upsurge in production of petroleum products, food, basic metals, and transport equipment.”
Moving forward, Pernia said the manufacturing sector would “benefit from an investment-led growth supported by stable inflation, increased spending on infrastructure and rural development, strong private consumption, and continued gains in overseas remittances.” SFM
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