Merchandise exports surged 20.2% in Aug. | Inquirer Business

Merchandise exports surged 20.2% in Aug.

Diversification said to play key role in rise of shipments
/ 01:18 AM October 11, 2013


The country’s exports grew by a much faster pace in August even though global demand for Philippine electronics remained weak.

Merchandise exports during the month grew by 20.2 percent from a year ago to $4.58 billion, the National Statistics Office on Thursday reported.


This was a stark improvement from the 4.1-percent and the 2.3-percent growth rates posted in June and July, respectively.


From January to August, cumulative revenues from the sale of goods abroad reached $35.3 billion—0.8 percent lower than the amount recorded in the same period last year.

Data showed that the double-digit growth rate in exports came about despite the decline in the outbound shipments of electronics due to the lingering problems of most major markets where demand for non-essential goods remained stagnant.

Electronics exports alone amounted to $1.78 billion during the month, declining year-on-year by 0.4 percent.

Arsenio Balisacan, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said that over the years the Philippines managed to reduce its dependence on electronics as a key export product.

Data showed that electronics accounted for 39 percent of the country’s total export receipts in August. Balisacan said that in the mid-2000s, revenues from the export of electronics made up more than half of the total.

The Philippines continues “to diversify, not only in terms of export markets but also in terms of products. We do not rely on electronics as heavily as we used to,” he said in an earlier interview.


Balisacan, who is also the country’s economic planning secretary, said the private sector responded positively to the government’s push toward diversification.

He echoed the views of other economists that demand for electronics and other non-essential goods would be prone to economic shocks.

This is the reason why exporters have been encouraged to manufacture other products for export, he added.

In August, the drop in global demand for electronics was offset by the increase in shipments of other goods coming from the Philippines.

Exports of woodcraft and furniture grew year on year by 68.7 percent to $346.96 million. Outbound shipments of mineral products were up by nearly six times to $193.22 million.

Also, exports of chemicals rose by 121 percent to $180.52 million.

Other products that led the year-on-year growth in exports during the month were: ignition wiring sets, up by 12 percent to $116.54 million; bananas, up by 266 percent to $109.26 million; and petroleum products, up by about a thousand times to $95.95 million.

Japan was the biggest buyer of Philippine goods in August. Exports to Japan reached $1.15 billion—up year on year by 67 percent.

The United States followed, accounting for $575.44 million of export receipts during the month. The amount was 15 percent higher year-on-year.

China was the third biggest export market during the month, accounting for $479.88 million. This was up year-on-year by 26 percent.

The two other countries that completed the top 5 markets for Philippine goods in August were Singapore and Hong Kong, which accounted for $389.63 million and $348.46 million, respectively.

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Exports to Singapore declined year-on-year by 31 percent, but exports to Hong Kong rose by 13.5 percent from that of a year ago.

TAGS: Arsenio Balisacan, Business, merchandise exports, National Statistics Office

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