Exports to pick up in coming months, says BSPBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
EXPORTS are forecast to rise in the months ahead on the back of increasing orders for semiconductors and electronics products from the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.
The Bangko Sentral noted that the book-to-bill ratio for the electronics industry improved significantly to 2.79 in November on the back of recovering demand from foreign buyers, mostly from the United States and Europe.
The ratio stood at only 0.75 in October and hovered below 1 the previous months.
The book-to-bill ratio, considered a reliable indicator of export performance in the succeeding months, is the proportion of the value of new orders to the value of recently sold goods. A ratio above 1 indicates that orders for new goods exceeded previous sales.
“When the ratio improves, more orders are being received by the semiconductor and electronics industry. Moving forward, manufacturers and exporters will have to produce more in order to meet increased orders,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a briefing yesterday.
The National Statistics Office earlier reported that exports reached $44.47 billion in January to September, rising 7.1 percent from $41.53 billion in the same period last year.
Exports were growing so far this year despite the ongoing crisis in the euro zone and the fragile economy of the United States.
The increase in exporters’ earnings, however, was below the government’s original projection of 10 percent for the full year. Officials admitted that the original export-growth forecast might no longer be attained given the dampening effects of the economic problems on demand from the euro zone and the United States.
The government thus adjusted its exports growth forecast for the year to 8 percent.
The unfavorable global economic environment has prompted the government to push for measures that would boost domestic demand and counter the drag caused by external economic problems on exports.
The desire to boost domestic demand was behind the move of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to cut its key policy rates four times in 2012, each by 25 basis points, to bring the rates to historic lows.
The drop in the key policy rates, which influence commercial interest rates, helped boost demand for loans, which fueled more consumption and investments, the BSP said.
In the first three quarters of the year, the Philippine economy grew by 6.5 percent from a year ago. This kept the full-year growth target of 5 to 6 percent well within reach.