Electronics, gold led export surge in February, says Neda | Inquirer Business
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Electronics, gold led export surge in February, says Neda

Philippine exports grew by a double-digit rate in February, from the 3-percent increase reported in January, with electronics and gold leading the charge, according to the National Statistics Office.

Export earnings in February this year rose by 14.6 percent to $4.431 billion from $3.865 billion recorded in the same month last year. On a monthly basis, outbound shipments increased by 7.4 percent from the $4.123 billion posted in January 2012, the NSO report showed.

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The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said that exporters’ performance during the month came as a “pleasant surprise,” especially after the sector went through eight months of contractions since May 2011 before it slightly recovered in January.

“Electronics also achieved double-digit growth, faster than we’ve expected. This bodes well for our GDP (gross domestic product) growth numbers,” Neda assistant director-general for policy and planning Ruperto P. Majuca said in a text message.

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Weak exports were a major drag to GDP growth in 2011.

It’s too early to tell if exports are building momentum, but the modest growth gives “some glimmer of hope,” Benjamin E. Diokno of the UP School of Economics said via email.

“Exports grew by 8.8 percent during the first two months of the year. The exports growth performance is much less than BSP’s (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) 15 percent growth forecast, and closer to the exporters’ revised forecast of 10 percent. But on the positive side, the two consecutive months of modest exports growth suggest that Philippine exports might be finally out of the negative territory—the bottom was reached in September 2011 when exports contracted by 27 percent,” Diokno added.

Electronics accounted for 52.7 percent of total export revenue in February, making it a major driver for higher overall exports. This product category earned $2.333 billion, up 15.8 percent year-on-year.

Gold extracted from copper ore and concentrates raked in $63.4 million, marking a 1,414-percent year-on-year rise. It was the runaway winner in terms of sales growth.

Japan took up 18 percent of total Philippine exports with billings amounting to $796.56 million (up 19.7 percent yearly).

Other top export markets were the United States ($687.64 million, up 11.5 percent) and China ($588.89 million, up 35.7 percent).

The Philippines needs an export boom to help spur growth by an annual rate of 7 to 8 percent from 2010 to 2016 and reduce poverty incidence in the country.

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TAGS: Business, electronics, Exports, gold
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