Exports down for 3rd straight month in Feb.
The value of Philippine-made goods shipped overseas declined for the third straight month in February on the back of “fragile” global demand coupled with lower commodity prices, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) reported on Wednesday.
But Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters after the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) meeting Tuesday night that exports were expected to recover by end-2015 with a 7-percent growth, higher than the previous forecast of a 6-percent expansion.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that merchandise exports slid 3.1 percent year-on-year last February to $4.51 billion, bringing the export receipts during the first two months of 2015 to a total of $8.87 billion or 1.8-percent lower than the figure a year ago.
Philippine exports also suffered contractions of 0.5 percent last January and 3.2 percent in December last year, PSA data showed.
According to the PSA, the decline posted in February reflected the decrease in shipments of six major commodity groups, namely electronic equipment and parts; furniture and woodcraft; machinery and transport equipment; manufactures; metal components, and other minerals.
Balisacan, who is also Neda’s director-general, noted that the slower export sales of agro-based goods, manufactures and petroleum products last February reflected weak global demand.
“Majority of the major economies in East and Southeast Asia registered negative export performance in February, with only China in the positive territory. This partly mirrors the still fragile global economy, which is particularly reflected in the country’s weak turnout of merchandise exports on the back of lower demand from the country’s major trade partners, Japan and China,” Balisacan explained.
In February, fewer exports of fruits and vegetables, sugar, wood manufactures, machinery and transport equipment, among other manufactured goods coupled with a lower export volume of oil amid plummeting global prices pulled down total shipments despite gains in sales of chemicals, garments, mineral products such as copper metal, gold and iron ore agglomerates, as well as electronics, especially semiconductors, Neda said.
To mitigate the effects of a still fragile global demand, Balisacan urged the government to further expand the market base for agro-based products while also diligently monitoring potential external shocks that might negatively impact on the country’s trade performance.
“Further improvements in infrastructure and logistics should also continue to support the export manufacturing sector. Likewise, concerns on the stability of power supply should be addressed,” he added.
Last March, the top three destinations of Philippine exports were Japan, United States and China.
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