7% exports growth seen

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that Philippine exports of goods and services in 2013 are seen to have grown by nearly 10 percent from figures in 2012, thus outpacing the prior year’s increase on the back of strong outsourcing and tourism performance as well as a preliminary recovery in merchandise shipments.

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Total exports likely ended 2013 with at least a 5.8-percent growth,     or as much as 7.2 percent, based on the amount ranging from $74.8 billion to $75.8 billion, with the high end of the forecast topping the 6.7-percent hike in 2012 compared to 2011, according to DTI- Bureau of Export Trade Promotions estimates.

This comes as services bolstered the export tally by growing by more than a fifth to $21.6 billion at the close of the year from $18.6 billion in 2012.

Meanwhile, merchandise export receipts last year slightly topped the $52.09-billion record high posted in 2012, based on the recently released November results. Full-year merchandise export growth is seen at 2.2 percent to 4.1 percent for 2013.

“I am confident merchandise exports will be at least close to 2012 levels,” BETP Director Senen Perlada said, noting the performance in November so far.

The 11-month merchandise export tally hit $49.4 billion, a 2.6-percent increase from a year ago according to official data. The latest results sustain the performance first posted in October, when year-to-date merchandise exports swung to growth from a contraction recorded earlier in the year. Exports in November alone surged by 18.9 percent amounting to $4.3 billion compared to the same month last year.

The improved January to November results came on the back of robust automotive and consumer electronics growth, which has helped temper the contraction in semiconductors export sales.

The modest growth so far is also attributed to the double-digit surges in shipments primarily of mineral products, food, construction materials, chemicals, furniture and fixtures, and home decor.

Moving forward, the same bright spots are seen to drive exports growth in 2014. Growth in information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry is expected to continue this year on the back of expansion into nonvoice services, for instance.

Merchandise export growth, meanwhile, will be driven by automotive and consumer electronics, woodcraft and furniture, processed food and beverages, and chemicals, the BETP director said.

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