December exports growth highest in region: Neda-A A +A
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
MANILA-Philippine export sales grew 16.5 percent in December 2012, the highest annual growth in merchandise exports among its trade-oriented neighbors in East and Southeast Asia.
Other Asian economies that recorded positive export growth during the month included Hong Kong (14.8 percent), the People’s Republic of China (14.1 percent), Viet Nam (14.1 percent), Thailand (13.5 percent) and Taiwan (9.0 percent).
The increase was attributed to the expanded markets opened following the signing of free-trade agreements with preferred trade partners in the Asean and other neighboring countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Australia-New Zealand.
“The remarkable export performance in 2012 was also boosted by the country’s product-diversification program that highlighted the export of machinery and transport equipment, woodcraft and furniture, and fruits and vegetables,” said Adrian Cristobal Jr., Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
He said the report on the country’s 2012 export figures came in time for the dual goal of inclusive growth and job creation of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), which will be highlighted during the Philippine Economic Briefing today.
Reports of the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that the Philippines’ export receipts were boosted by the 89.23 percent sales growth of the machinery and transport equipment that rose to $5.31 billion from the $2.806 billion in 2011.
“The country’s export performance in December 2012 also reflects the generally improved prospects in the global economy on the back of policy support implemented by major economies, most notably of the Euro area, the United States (US), and Japan,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
The Philippine high export revenues last December were significant turnaround from the 18.9 percent contraction in December 2011.
However, export earnings for the full year 2012 grew by only 7.6 percent to $52.0 billion from $48.3 billion the previous year.
Balisacan said this is below the Development Budget Coordination Committee-approved export growth assumption of 10 percent for the year.
The country’s total export earnings reached $4.0 billion in December 2012 from $3.4 billion in the same period in 2011, as shipments of manufactured goods (17.8 percent), total agro-based products (19.1 percent), petroleum (137 percent) and forest products (29.9 percent) posted annual gains.
The strong performance of manufactured exports was mainly attributed to higher receipts from machinery and transport equipment (138.8 percent), electronic equipment and parts (52.4 percent), wood manufactures (51.3 percent) and processed food and beverages (40.4 percent).
“The renewed demand for manufactures may be partly traced to a firming global manufacturing sector with the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showing a slight expansion in December 2012 at 50.2 index point,” said Balisacan.
However, electronics exports posted a 5.5-percent contraction from $1.6 billion in December 2011 to $1.5 billion in December 2012.
“This mirrored the declining global market for personal computers due to cautious IT (information technology) spending and the increasing popularity of electronic tablets.
Nevertheless, the sustained increase in export receipts from semiconductors partly mitigated the further decline in electronics exports,” he said.
Meanwhile, total agro-based exports amounted to $379.8 million in December 2012, up by 19.1 percent from $318.8 million in December 2011.
Petroleum exports grew by 137 percent in December 2012 to $95.1 million from $40.1 million in the same period in 2011.
Japan was the top destination of Philippine exports in December 2012, accounting for 18 percent of total export receipts. The US came in second with a 12.7-percent share, followed by the Republic of China (10.5 percent), Hong Kong SAR (9.6 percent) and Singapore (8.6 percent).
“The 7.6 percent growth, coming from a lackluster 2011 performance for the sector, may be seen as flat growth although this is marginally higher than the five percent increase most experts predicted,” said Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona.
Escalona believes exports will start to take off this year and will record a strong and sustainable recovery in 2014 despite challenging times ahead because the US and EU economies are predicted to fully stabilize by 2019.
“It is still in the government’s main agenda to double up exports to around $100 billion by 2016 so incremental increases are expected beginning this year,” Escalona said. (PNA)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2013.