Philippine exports sustained their double-digit growth in August from a year earlier but eased from July’s level, the latest official data shows.
Total export earnings in August rose 10.5 percent to $5.474 billion from $4.956 billion in the same month last year, according to data released on Friday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Exports growth in August, however, contracted from the 12.4 percent year-on-year increase recorded in July.
Despite this, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said merchandise exports in August maintained the country’s position among the top performers in East and Southeast Asia.
Total merchandise exports in the eight months to August increased 9.2 percent to $40.748 billion from $37.330 billion in same period of 2013, placing the country as the third highest exports performer in East and Southeast Asia, following Vietnam (12.6 percent) and Indonesia (10.6 percent), the NEDA said.
Electronic products were still the country’s top export, with total receipts of $2.277 billion, accounting for 41.6 percent of the total exports revenue in August, increasing by 10 percent than a year earlier.
“Other manufactures” ranked second with a value of $373.60 million. That was followed by machinery and transport equipment, with value posted at $331.06 million, other mineral products with sales amounting to $318.33 million, and woodcrafts and furniture with revenue valued at $251.97 million, the PSA said.
By commodity group, the NEDA noted that export earnings from manufactured goods were up by 8.4 percent, reaching $4.4 billion percent from $4.1 billion registered in August 2013.
Emmanuel Esguerra, NEDA deputy director general and currently officer in charge said the performance of manufactures was mainly due to increased outbound sales in diverse commodities.
Besides manufactures, the NEDA noted that total agro-based products also managed to sustain its robust growth in August 2014, with their export value reaching $505.2 million, or up by 41.0 percent from $358.4 million in the same period last year.
“This is attributed to higher domestic production of coconut products, as the industry bounced back from a two-month volume shipment slump in June and July 2014.
Accounting for about 53.2 percent of total agro-based exports, outward shipments of coconut products grew by a hefty 124.0 percent, likewise benefiting from higher international prices during the period,” said Esguerra.
The agency also said revenues from mineral products also grew by 30.9 percent, mainly because of higher demand from the China, Hong Kong, and South Korea for increased shipments of iron ore agglomerates, copper metal, other mineral products, and chromium ore.
The strong performance of these sectors offset the lower export revenues registered by petroleum and forest products, the NEDA noted.
Japan remains the country’s top destination for exports with revenue amounting to $1.044 billion, comprising a 19.1 percent share of total exports for August, a decrease of 15.3 percent from the same month a year ago.
China ranked second with export receipts valued at $820.74 million. Other top markets for Philippine exports were United States, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Meanwhile, the NEDA believes that the double-digit growth of exports for the period remains healthy and is likely to be sustained.
“This expectation is primarily anchored on increasing global demand alongside business expansions and new product launches for garments and information technology sectors, as well as improved availability of raw materials and agricultural products,” said Esguerra.
Esguerra also called for the cooperation of the private sector in continuing efforts to diversify the country’s export markets within the greater Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.