Exports post steepest drop in 8 monthsBy Ana G. Roa, Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine exports fell in August as outbound shipments of electronics dipped for the fifth consecutive month, official figures showed.
Earnings from merchandise exports went down 9 percent in August to $3.798 billion from $4.173 billion a year ago, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said in a report Wednesday.
The decline in exports dragged the country’s value of shipments to their lowest level since December 2011.
As this developed, one of the country’s economic managers conceded that the Philippines may not meet its target exports growth of 10 percent this year due to sluggish electronics exports.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Business Conference, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said that, more realistically, export revenues may grow 5 to 7 percent.
“We are not changing our target; we are just saying it will not be reached,” he said.
Domingo said the extent of decline in electronics was “not anticipated” despite the overall sluggishness in the global market.
According to the government’s data, electronics—which accounted for nearly half of total export revenues—earned $1.765 billion in August, down 14.9 percent from $2.074 billion a year ago.
Semiconductors, which made up the bulk of electronics exports, received $1.410 billion in receipts in August, a 10.5-percent decrease from $1.576 billion in the same month last year.
The country’s top export dropped beginning April when shipment of electronics plummeted 23.8 percent. Since then, electronics slid 0.7 percent in May, 14.6 percent in June and 25.6 percent in July, NSO data showed.
Benjamin Diokno of the University of the Philippines said government officials should revise the 10 percent exports growth target for 2012 and work on a strategy to do better next year.
“The official exports growth target of 10 percent is now unattainable. Exports have to grow by 19.3 percent during the final four months of the year. But that’s virtually impossible with the world economy turning slower and more uncertain,” Diokno said in an e-mailed statement.—With a report from Reuters
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