PHILIPPINE exports posted double-digit growth in June led by electronic products, making the country the top performer among selected economies in East and Southeast Asia.
Total export earnings in June rose 21.3 percent to $5.444 billion from $4.490 billion in the same month last year, according to data released by NEDA and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday.
In the six months to June this year, total merchandise exports grew 8.3 percent to $29.809 billion from $27.515 billion in same period of 2013.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the June export figure “is the highest level since the economy started posting a continuous positive growth in the same period last year” and allowed the country to outperform many of its neighbors.
He said the Philippines outperformed Vietnam (12.7 percent), China (7.2 percent), Malaysia (5.6 percent), Singapore (4.7 percent), Thailand (3.9 percent), Indonesia (3.8 percent), Hong Kong (2.7 percent), Republic of Korea (2.5 percent), Taiwan (1.2 percent), and Japan (-6.5 percent).
Boost to economy
Economists hailed the June export figure, saying it indicated faster expansion in the coming months and augured well for the country’s overall growth this year.
The “numbers continue to bode well for GDP [gross domestic product]growth,” said Rahul Bajoria, economist at UK-based investment bank Barclays.
For Justino Calaycay, analyst at Accord Capital Equities Corp., the strong export numbers in June reflects the traction gained by global economies.
“For as long as global growth momentum is sustained, we can expect exports to provide a boost to the economy,” he said.
Jeff Ng, economist at Standard Chartered Bank, said export growth has been helped by a favorable base effect and the lifting of the truck ban, but he noted that June is traditionally a slower month for exports for the past few years.
Ng was referring to last year’s low comparative base when export growth for June 2013 was recorded at 4.1 percent.
“We think that trade growth will pick up from better external demand by the developed economies in the second half of the year,” he said.
Eight of the top 10 commodity groups recorded growth for the month, namely machinery and transport equipment; bananas (fresh); other mineral products; other manufactures; articles of apparel and clothing accessories; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships; electronic products; and chemicals.
Electronic products remained the top export group, with total receipts of $2.221 billion, up by 10.7 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 40.8 percent of total export revenue.
Exports of other manufactures totaled $538.67 million, up 67.8 percent from $321 million in June 2013.
Exports of machinery and transport equipment accounted for $390.83 million; exports of other mineral products, $321.31 million; and exports of woodcraft and furniture, $253.41 million.
Balisacan, who is also NEDA director-general, said the export gains were broad-based as reflected by increased overseas demand for manufactures, mineral products, total agro-based, and forest products, an indication that the global economy is ready for a strong recovery.
“Our overall outlook for Philippine merchandise exports continues to be optimistic in view of favorable expectations on the global economy for the rest of 2014, particularly on the growth prospects of advanced countries such as the USA and the euro area,” he said.
On the domestic front, the NEDA chief said industry expectations also point to a favorable export performance for the full year.
For instance, he said the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. and exporters of furniture, fixtures and garments expect to increase their annual growth forecasts.
“For agro-based commodities, bright prospects for banana and mango exports are seen on the back of a possible increase in market access, notably in Australia and the US,” Balisacan concluded.
Japan remained the top destination of Philippine exports in June, with total shipments of $955.98 million, accounting for 17.6 percent of overall revenue from merchandise exports.
China accounted for 15.8 percent and the United States, 13.8 percent. Other top markets for Philippine exports were Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.