THE government’s chief economic planner on Tuesday warned of a possible weakening in export growth this year despite the solid 9 percent increase recorded in 2014.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday that total exports last year rose to $61.8 billion, up 9 percent from $56.7 billion the previous year.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said the 9 percent rise was relatively strong compared with other economies in the region.
“This is a good indication of the growing resiliency of our sectors given that economies in the euro area, Japan and China remain sluggish, causing regional trade flows to soften,” he said.
However, the continued weakness in China and Euro deflation, he said, will temper this year’s export growth
“What could provide an upside support to exports is the continuing US recovery and possibly some respite from Japan, which may realize economic expansion towards end-2015,” he said.
The country’s top trading partners are Japan, the US, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
For the month of December, however, Philippine exports contracted by 3.2 percent to $4.801 billion from $4.960 billion a year earlier due to the negative performance of four major commodities including electronic equipment and parts, woodcraft and furniture, and other mineral products.
Electronics remained the country’s top export product in December, accounting for 49.5 percent of total exports for the month, with export earnings rising 9.9 percent to $2.377 billion from $2.162 billion in December 2013.
Other top export earners were other manufactures; machinery and transport equipment; woodcraft and furniture; and chemicals.
In terms of other major commodity groups, export earnings from manufactured goods totaled $4.18 billion in December, down from $4.23 billion registered a year earlier.
The NEDA chief said the decline in earnings can be traced mainly to the year-on-year decrease in other manufactured products, wood manufactures and electronic equipment and parts.
“Nonetheless, outbound sales of electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, garments, miscellaneous manufactured articles and chemicals remained buoyant,” said Balisacan.
Also, sluggish coconut and sugar exports pulled down total agricultural exports by 24.9 percent.
“While outward sales of other agro-based products reached $81.7 million, higher by 10.2 percent compared to $74.2 million in December 2013, decline in coconut oil exports drove outward shipments from coconut products to drop from $145.1 million in December 2013 to $79.5 million in the same month of 2014,” he added.