Exports up 12.4% in July, but Neda warns power lack may slow growth
MANILA, Philippines—The country’s shipments abroad rose double-digits in July, growing second-fastest in the East and Southeast Asian regions after economic giant China, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Wednesday.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), however, warned that the export industry’s rosy prospects would be dampened should government fail to avert an impending power crisis.
PSA data showed that merchandize exports jumped 12.4 percent to $5.5 billion in July from $4.9 billion in the same month in 2013. The Philippines’ export growth that month trailed only China’s 14.5 percent among major Asian economies.
NEDA attributed the double-digit increase to higher overseas sales of agro-based as well as manufactured goods.
Over four-fifths of July’s merchandize exports were manufactured goods, which went up 15.9 percent to $4.4-billion worth from $3.8 billion last year on the back of robust electronics shipments.
Agro-based exports likewise grew double-digits to $447.2 million in July, 20.7-percent higher than last year’s $370.6 million. The jump in agriculture shipments was boosted by the rise in demand for coconut and sugar products as well as fruits and vegetables, NEDA said.
The Philippines top export destinations’ in July were Japan, the United States and China.
At the end of July, exports reached $35.1 billion, up 8.5 percent from $32.4 billion in the same seven-month period in 2013.
“Our country’s robust exports growth reflects global trend, as we see major economies such as the USA, China and Germany continuously showing signs of bouncing back from economic shocks. This suggests that global demand is picking up pace and that our exports sector is slowly gaining momentum,” NEDA director-general and Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement.
But while the third quarter has shown signs of “better prospects” expected to spill over until yearend for agriculture-based products, electronics, garments and other intermediate goods exports, Balisacan said the looming power shortage might stunt growth.
“The expected tightness in the supply of power in the coming months could disrupt industrial production, hurting exports. Additional cost of utilities may also hamper production volumes. This should also be given priority by the government to support the country’s export targets,” the NEDA chief said.
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