Neda: Twin-digit export growth can be sustained

Despite the downward trend in export growth in the past two months, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) remains confident that double-digit export growth will be sustained in the coming months.

Neda Deputy Director General and Officer in Charge Emmanuel Esguerra said the increasing global demand in the last quarter of the year will keep export growth at, or above 10 percent in the coming months.

In August export growth slowed to 10.5 percent, lower than the July growth of 12.4 percent and 30.1 percent in August 2013. Since the start of the third quarter in July, export growth has been slowing.

“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,” Esguerra said.

“Moving forward, export-revenue growth is likely to be driven by the rebound in the export of electronic products, machinery and transport, and other electronics,” he added.

The Philippines’s export earnings grew to $5.474 billion in  August 2014, from $4.956 billion recorded value in August 2013.

The Neda noted that in the first eight months of 2014, total exports increased by 9.2 percent, from $37.3 billion in the same period last year to $40.7 billion.

This placed the country as the third-highest export performer in East and Southeast Asia, following Vietnam, with 12.6 percent, and Indonesia, with 10.6 percent.

Export growth, Esguerra said, will be sustained by the steady export growth of manufactured goods, which reached $4.4 billion. This represented an 8.4-percent increase from $4.1 billion registered in August 2013.

“Manufactures remained as the major contributor to exports growth, reflecting the positive developments in the global manufacturing sector,” Esguerra said.

Esguerra noted that the performance of manufactures was mainly due to increased outbound sales in diverse commodities.

Electronic products remain on top of the list, with total receipts amounting to $2.3 billion in August 2014, higher by 10 percent compared to the $2.1 billion in August 2013.

“The report shows that the manufacturing sector is moving toward more diversification and that there is a continued strong local demand for manufactured goods and improvement in export demand. In fact, the fast-approaching holiday season is also expected to beef up the sector’s production, as we anticipate an increase in demand from both the local and external consumers,” Esguerra explained.

Apart from manufactures, total agro-based products also managed to sustain its robust growth in
August 2014.

Agri-based export receipts reached $505.2 million, a 41-percent growth from $358.4 million in the same period last year.

Esguerra said this growth was largely due to higher domestic production of coconut products. This was a recovery from the slump in the volume shipment of the commodity in June and July.

“Accounting for about 53.2 percent of total agro-based exports, outward shipments of coconut products grew by a hefty 124 percent, likewise benefiting from higher international prices during the period,” Esguerra said.

In order to sustain this growth, Esguerra called for the cooperation of the private sector, especially in continuing efforts to diversify the country’s export markets within the greater Asean region.

In terms of regional destinations, shipments to the members of the Asean account for 14.1 percent of the country’s total exports while the European Union covered 12.7 percent.

Esguerra said these measures are outlined in the Philippine Development Plan  Midterm Update and reflected in the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016.

These policy strategies, he said, should be linked to governance reforms, supply-chain improvement, infrastructure support and product diversification and innovation in order to sustain exports growth.

“The government, on the other hand, should be prepared to craft measures to protect vulnerable sectors in the event of economic shocks in the global market,” Esguerra said.

The Philippines’s export earnings from its top 10 markets in August 2014 amounted to $4.481 billion, or 81.9 percent of the total.

Japan including Okinawa remained the Philippines’s top export market and accounted for 19.1 percent, or $1.04 billion, of total exports for August 2014.

Rounding up the top 5 export markets were China with 15 percent, or $820.74 million; United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, 14.6 percent, or $799.62 million; Hong Kong, 8.7 percent, or $476.24 million; and Singapore, 7.4 percent, or $405.67 million.

Other top market destinations for August 2014 were: Germany, $219.93 million; Netherlands, $193.36 million; Taiwan, $183.65 million; Republic of Korea, $172.65 million; and Thailand, $164.67 million.

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