Exports jumped 22.5% in January
Trade and manufacturing both sustained their growth in January, which officials of state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) attributed to recovering global economic prospects.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data released yesterday showed that merchandise exports jumped 22.5 percent year-on-year to $5.13 billion in January, reversing the 3.9-percent decline a year ago.
Imports rose 9.1 percent year-on-year to $7.44 billion, although slower than the 20.5-percent climb in the same month last year.
As such, two-way trade at the start of the year grew 14.2 percent to $12.6 billion, Neda noted in a statement.
Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon told reporters that the double-digit increase in exports last January was not a “base effect” due to the lower shipments last year. “When we checked, the higher exports were due to the global economic recovery,” Edillon said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the growth figures in January augured well to robust trade for at least the rest of the first half of the year.
“We are now riding the waves of economic growth in the region. As such, we must continue to push for innovation and infrastructure development to fuel our momentum and drive us to the forefront of the race,” said Pernia, who is also Neda chief.
“We must support our fast-growing economy by strengthening our production capability and linkages, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing, to help us meet both internal and external demands,” he added.
But the Neda chief cautioned that global growth and trade risks remained with US protectionist policies that could hamper global recovery as counter-measures would be imposed by its trading partners.”
Hence, “aside from increasing our attractiveness and competitiveness through economic reforms, we need to diversify our market and take advantage of our existing multilateral and bilateral trade agreements to expand opportunities for our producers,” according to Pernia.
As for manufacturing, the PSA’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries for January showed that the Volume of Production Index grew 9.3 percent that month, albeit slower than the 35.8-percent expansion during the same month last year. —BEN O. DE VERA
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