PH exports continue to recover boosted by surge in coconut oil sales

DESPITE continued disruptions in the global economy due to Covid-related restrictions, the Philippine exports grew by 15.2 percent from January to November 2021 to USD 68.4 billion compared to the same period in 2020, based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) preliminary data.

Philippine merchandise exports increased by 6.6 percent year-on-year (YOY) amounting to USD 6.3 billion in November 2021 from USD 5.9 billion in November 2020.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez pointed out that “the 2021 figure also grew by 4.91 percent compared to the same period in 2019, which amounted to USD 65.17 billion. This reflected a better export performance compared to the prep-pandemic level.”

November PSA data also showed that coconut oil recorded the highest annual increase of 95 percent out of the 10 major commodity groups in terms of export value.

The country accounts for 60 percent of United States of America (USA) coconut oil imports and 73 percent of USA crude coconut oil imports. The rise in demand were due to changes in US trade policy, market trends, and dietary guidelines.

In 2019, the coconut sector contributed more than USD1 billion in export revenues.

Coconut, particularly coconut oil, is one of the top agricultural export commodities in 2019, placing the Philippines as the number one exporter of coconut oil in the world.

The Philippines maintained its global leader position in the coconut product exports in 2020.

Philippine exports of coconut oil and desiccated coconut accounted for 52.48 percent and 35.91 percent of the global market, respectively.

Lopez said, “Over the years, coconut food exports landscape has transformed from traditional coconut oil into a higher value product such as virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut chips, coconut cream, among others. Reportlinker expects the revenue for packaged coconut water to grow at a CAGR of over 26 percent for 2019-2025. This is driven by the growing preference for coconut water as healthy, natural, and convenient beverage.”

The trend on health and wellness products has generally strengthened due to the health crisis brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most sectors that are focused on health and wellness will continue to do well, according to Euromonitor International Report.

Electronics exports in November 2021 amounted to USD 3.7 billion, which brought the year-to-date (YTD) electronics exports to USD 42.0 billion, 14.2 percent higher compared to the same period last year.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the cumulative total of semiconductors sold through November 2021 reached USD 1.05 trillion, which is the industry’s highest-ever annual total.

Top Philippine electronics exports in November were components/devices (semiconductors), electronic data processing, other electronics, telecommunication, and consumer electronics.

Double-digit growths were also recorded in the export of other manufactured goods, other mineral products, and cathodes and sections of cathodes, which grew by 23.6 percent, 24.7 percent and 53.6 percent, respectively.

Lopez cited that “to improve the country’s competitiveness in international markets, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is leading the drafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2022-2027 with an overarching goal of transforming the country from an exporter of commodities and intermediate goods to an exporter of high value products and services. The new PEDP is envisioned take an industry development approach to boost export competitiveness i.e. by attracting export-oriented investments in innovation driven-sectors to increase product and service diversification.”

The USA is the Philippines’ top export market in November with exports valued at USD 997.85 million (15.9 percent share in the total exports), followed by China with USD 887.48 million (14.1 percent), Japan with USD 879.43 million (14.0 percent), Hong Kong with USD 833.60 million (13.3 percent), and Singapore with USD 360.68 (5.7 percent).

Out of the top five markets, Philippine exports to China and Japan decreased compared to November of last year.

To further sustain the growth in Philippine exports, the Department is participating in various international events and expos to promote Philippine companies and their products.

In February, DTI and Philippine exporters will be participating in Gulfood 2022 or The Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire, a renowned international platform dedicated to the food and beverage processing in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

“We have seen strong growth in most of our exported commodity groups and we will be ramping up our initiatives on export marketing to ensure that the country sustains and surpasses 2021’s export rebound,” said Lopez.

As part of DTI’s initiatives to seize opportunities in key sectors and markets, the DTI will be leading a series of export promotion activities in the Mena region including, in-store promotion of Philippine food products in leading supermarkets in UAE and the Philippine participation in Gulfood.

The Department has also earlier announced the possible start of scoping discussions on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) with the UAE.

For inquiries regarding exports, email the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau at or visit (PR)


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