Increase slows to 2.9% in Oct from 15.7% in Sept
(Updates with NEDA comment, details from official data)
Philippine exports lost traction in October, with growth slipping sharply to an annual 2.9 percent from a robust 15.7 percent in September in what the top government economic planner attributed to the weakening of the country’s main trading partners.
The country’s total export earnings rose to $5.173 billion in October from $5.027 billion a year earlier, with higher earnings from agro-based commodities offsetting weaker sales in the minerals, petroleum and forest products sector, as shown by data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Wednesday.
“We must remain vigilant, however, as the October performance of the exports sector generally reflected the softening of the country’s main trading partners,” NEDA Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
He warned that major economies such as Japan, China and the euro area are facing a myriad of economic difficulties, which could dampen exports growth in the immediate term.
In a tatement, the NEDA said exports of mineral products dropped 7.7 percent to $343.9 million from $372.5 million during the comparative periods.
“This is due to lower sales of gold, other mineral products, and iron ore agglomerates,” Balisacan said.
Furthermore, the NEDA stressed that declining international prices of crude oil affected the country’s earnings from petroleum exports, noting that total sales receipts amounted to $54.3 million in October 2014, which stood lower by 4.4 percent from the $56.8 million recorded in the same period a year ago.
Similarly, outbound shipment of forest products contracted by 32.5 percent to $5.4 million in October from $8.0 million in the same month the previous year.
Electronics, coco exports firm
Contributing positively to the October exports performance were electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, iron and steel, furniture and fixtures, and textile yarns/fabrics, which posted higher sales.
The agency noted that for the fifth consecutive month, exports of electronic products grew, with a 4.5 percent increase to $2.2 billion seen against a comparative $2.1 billion in October 2013, backed by robust sales of semiconductors, consumer electronics, control and instrumentation, medical and industrial instrumentation, telecommunication, communication/radar, and office equipment.
Agro-based sectors also posted positive growth of 15.7 percent, with total sales receipts increasing to $401.4 million from $346.9 million in the corresponding period a year ago, it added.
“This double-digit growth was supported by the favorable export performance of coconut products and other agro-based products. Export payments for coconut products rose to US$158.9 million from the amount recorded at $90.8 million in October 2013,” Balisacan said.
Japan remains the country’s top destination for exports with revenue amounting to $1.124 billion, accounting for a 21.7 percent share of total exports for October, and showing an increase of 4.7 percent from the same month a year ago.
The United States ranked second, with export receipts valued at $779.19 million. Other top markets for Philippine exports were China, Hong Kong and Singapore.