Finished manufactured products led the growth of Philippine exports in January this year, despite the lower output of the sector in the same month.
According to data released by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday, total merchandise exports in January increased by 9.3 percent to $4.4 billion from $4 billion in the same month last year.
“The positive growth was mainly brought about by the increase of seven major commodities out of the top ten commodities for the month,” the PSA said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement that even if the manufacturing sector registered single-digit growth in output in January, the sector anchored the growth in exports in the same month.
This made up for the “reductions in export earnings from other major commodity groups, such as total agro-based products, mineral products, petroleum, and forest products,” he said.
According to PSA data, export growth drivers in January were electronic equipment and parts; metal components; articles of apparel and clothing accessories; electronic products, machinery and transport equipment; and woodcrafts and furniture.
On a month-to-month comparison, January exports declined 4.7 percent from the $4.6 billion posted in December 2013.
Meanwhile, exports of agro-based products in January decreased by 28.8 percent to $277 million from the previous year’s $388.9 million; while mineral exports dropped by 22.7 percent to $149.4 million from $193.1 million.
Also, petroleum product exports in January fell by 7.5 percent to $67.3 million from the $72.8 million recorded in the same month last year, while exports of forest products decelerated by 19.4 percent to $5.2 million from $6.5 million.
“Despite the setbacks in some commodity groups and other sectors, the Philippines’ merchandise export growth in January 2014 is one of the fastest among selected trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asian region, trailing behind China,” Balisacan said.
Electronic products remained the highest contributor to total merchandise exports with a 40.9-percent share or $1.8 billion, which is 22.1 percent higher compared to the $1.5 billion posted in January 2013.
By export type, manufactured goods had the highest contribution with an 86.4-percent share or $3.8 billion, an increase of 15.3 percent from the $3.3 billion recorded in January 2012.
The Philippines’ top export destination in January was Japan, which accounted for 26.3 percent of the country’s total export receipts or $1.2 billion. Other top markets were the United States with a 13.8-percent share; China with 9.9 percent; Singapore with 8.8 percent; and Hong Kong with 7.5 percent.
The country’s manufacturing sector recorded a slower 7.2-percent growth in January compared to the double-digit 25.2-percent improvement recorded in December last year.
According to the results of the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries released by the PSA also on Tuesday, 15 major industries posted slower growth, which led to the single-digit growth in the January Volume of Production Index (VoPI) or manufacturing volume.
The 15 manufacturing groups that recorded lower VoPI figures in January include tobacco products; publishing and printing; machinery except electrical; textiles; fabricated metal products; leather products; chemical products; electrical machinery; and non-metallic mineral products.