CV economy grew faster in 1H: Neda-A A +A
Thursday, November 1, 2012
THE regional economy of Central Visayas (CV) grew faster during the first semester of the year compared to the same period last year, according to a report from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7.
All major industries posted “above average performances” except for agriculture, the report said.
In its recently released regional economic situationer, Neda 7 said agriculture was unable to sustain the growth it achieved last year due to a decline in production.
Agricultural output during the first half of the year dropped by 16.1 percent. Neda 7 said the dismal performance of the crop sub-sector, which fell by 17.9 percent, greatly affected the agricultural output. Poor sugarcane harvest pulled down the total crop production of the region. Neda 7 also recorded poor performance in the fishery sub-sector.
Other major industries in the region, however, posted faster growth this year, including exports.
Neda 7 said the exports sector turned in an “impressive performance” during the period, raising hopes that the sector is finally on the road to recovery.
More than double
“Export sales of the region in the first half of 2012 was more than double the level in the same period in 2011,” the report said.
Export receipts reached $1.9 billion during the period under review or 102.8 percent higher than $957.02 million from last year’s.
Neda 7 cited furniture and fixture as among the sectors that showed signs of recovery.
The agency said this was confirmed by furniture exporters from Cebu who noted an increase in interest of buyers of their products during the Manila Fame last March.
Manila Fame is the longest running trade show in the Asia-Pacific region.
Imports of the region also went up by 67.5 percent, reaching $1.3 billion in the first semester this year from $834.9 million in the same period last year.
“This indicates a likely continued positive performance of the export sector in the next month as industries stock up to produce more,” the Neda 7 report said.
The balance of trade surplus grew to $543.1 million from January to June this year, compared to $122.1 million in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, tourism arrivals in CV grew faster this year, going up 12.2 percent, recording some 1.4 million arrivals. Foreign arrivals to the region grew by 13.9 percent while domestic tourists went up by 11.2 percent.
Except for Bohol, all provinces in the region posted double-digit rates of increase in visitor arrivals. Negros Oriental registered the highest growth rate with visitor arrivals up by 29.7 percent, followed by Siquijor at 17.7 percent. Cebu grew by 13 percent.
Bohol, meanwhile, remained the second most visited province in the region, accounting for 12 percent of total arrivals.
Growth in the tourism sector was also fueled by the upbeat expansion of airline players and recovery in the shipping industry.
Neda 7 also reported that CV’s inflation rate from January to August this year averaged 4.1 percent, higher than the national average of 3.1 percent during the period.
The agency said the sustained growth of the regional economy also made a positive impact on employment. The region’s employment rate rose slightly in July to 92.9 percent, from 92.5 percent in January this year. However, underemployment remains a challenge in CV.
“Although the proportion of underemployed workers to the total number of employed workers in the region decreased in July 2012 to hover at 21.4 percent from 22.4 percent in April 2012, it remains high at more than 20 percent, higher than the January 2012 rate of 20.5 percent,” the report said.
Neda 7’s growth prospects for the region remain positive. Continued growth is expected from top performing industries like information technology/business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing, tourism, real estate development and retail trade.
The export industry is also expected to continue to recover and post a stronger performance by the end of the year as it takes advantage of an anticipated market recovery and opportunities from new markets in Asia, the Neda 7 said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 02, 2012.