2012 exports up despite electronics drop

Data from the National Statistics Office show export earnings grew 7.6% to $51.994 billion in 2012

NOW RECOVERING? Exports grow slightly in 2012 following a contraction in 2011, but demand for electronics remains weak. AFP Photo

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Philippine exports managed to post growth in 2012 despite the decline in shipments of the key electronics group.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed export earnings grew 7.6% to $51.994 billion in 2012 from $48.304 billion in 2011. The growth was a turnaround from the 6.2% contraction recorded in 2011, when demand from the Philippines’ trading partners was low.

Sales of electronics, which accounted for over 43% of the total earnings, however fell 5.2% to $22.557 billion in 2012 from $23.795 billion in 2011.

In December alone, exports rose 16.5% to $3.97 billion, reversing their 18.9% fall in the same month of 2011, despite a 5.5% decline in electronics shipments to $1.506 billion.

The NSO said the overall export growth was supported by steady and higher shipments of other products, including woodcraft and furniture, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and fruits and vegetables. In December, higher shipments of petroleum products, metal components and tuna also contributed to growth.

December growth

The National Economic and Development Authority said December’s export growth was the best in Asia. Other countries’ growths were:

  • 14.8% – Hong Kong
  • 14.1% – China
  • 14.1% – Vietnam
  • 13.5% – Thailand

“The Philippines’ export performance in December 2012 reflects the generally improved prospects in the global economy on the back of policy support implemented by major economies, most notably of the Euro area, the United States, and Japan,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

University of Asia and the Pacific economist Victor Abola said export growth would pick up in 2013 on the back of improving demand from overseas markets.

“It should be better in 2013 because China and US will grow a bit faster than 2012. My full-year 2013 (export earnings) growth forecast is 6% to 8%,” he said.

However, economist and former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is not as optimistic. He said December’s growth was due largely to base effect, given the steep decline in 2011.

He also said 2013 exports would be affected by “strained relations” between the Philippines and China, and the strong peso.

“Given the still weak and uncertain global economy, I do not see a major rebound in 2013. The strong peso remains to be the strongest factor affecting Philippine exports.”

Biggest markets

Japan was still the country’s top export market in 2012, accounting for 19% of the total earnings, with $9.881 billion. This was 11.2% higher than the $8.886 billion worth of Philippine exports the country bought in 2011.

The US was the Philippines’ second biggest market, with a share of 14.22% or $7.395 billion of the total receipt.

China came in third, with 11.85% or $6.159 billion, followed by Singapore (9.35% or $4.863 billion), Hong Kong (9.19% or $4.776 billion), and Korea (5.5% or $2.862 billion). – with reports from Cai Ordinario/Rappler.com

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