Electronics trade seen to fall flat this yearBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines electronics exports may fall flat this year, but register a modest growth in 2013 due to worldwide economic uncertainty, the high cost of power, and the peso’s appreciation, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (Seipi) said Tuesday.
The group of foreign and Filipino semiconductor and electronics companies in the country said in a statement that there would be little or no difference in the commodity’s export figures for the year, coming from a low base in November and December last year at $1.52 billion and $1.51 billion, respectively.
Electronics make up about half of Philippine exports.
Seipi’s board of directors said that the industry’s poor performance this year was caused by the Philippines’ high cost of power, the peso’s strength and worldwide uncertainty—made worse by a depressed export market and weak consumer electronics demand.
Initially, the industry group had set a 10 to 15 percent growth target for outbound shipments of electronic products this year. But by mid-2012, Seipi eased its projection to a range of five to seven percent due to weak global demand.
“However, the industry projects it will grow by 5 to 6 percent in 2013 due to new facility transfers of some electronics companies in the Philippines, and investments made during the previous year, which will be mostly operational by next year,” Seipi president Ernie B. Santiago said.
He noted that challenges in the reporting of official data would affect growth figures as well. Santiago cited automotive electronics, which is not being counted as electronics exports because of a change in tariff code.
“The discrepancy in automotive electronics exports due to change of tariff code is not yet counted in the electronics exports data released by the [National Statistics Office]. It was noted that there was an 87 percent recorded drop of automotive electronics exports—from $762 million in 2011 to only $98 million in 2012 because of this discrepancy,” Santiago said.
Electronics exports last October rose modestly by 3.79 percent to $1.9 billion from that of the previous month. Year on-year, electronics exports rose by 0.28 percent in October.
From January to October, exports dropped by 6.56 percent to $19.32 billion from the $20.67 billion registered in the same period last year.
Seipi said exports in the last two months of the year would compensate for the negative growth experienced during the first 10 months.