March exports up, electronics down
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Merchandise exports crawled up 0.1% to US$4.329-B in March despite a dampened performance of the electronics sector, which traditionally dictated the direction of Philippine trade.
The March exports figure brought the first quarter performance to $12.08 billion, down 6.2% from the $12.9 billion level a year ago.
Electronics exports was down 22.4% to $1.8 billion in March from $2.3 billion a year ago. This brought the overall electronics decline in the first quarter to 30.29%.
"The shift from personal computers to mobile devices combined with sluggish shipments of semiconductors to China, Singapore, Hong Kong, USA and Japan resulted in weak performance of electronic data processing and semiconductors," the National Economic planning office said in a statement on Friday, May 10.
Previously, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed electronics weakness to anemic global demand. He said the government expects exports to be sluggish in the first half of 2013.
Even the exports of manufactured goods dropped for the 3rd consecutive month in March, contracting by 5% to $3.5 billion.
The National Statistics Office said export products categorized as "Others" served as a buffer to the overall performance of the exports sector.
Below are the main exports destination of Philippine-made products in March:
- Japan - 18.5% share; $801.7 million total, up 17% compared to a year ago; main products are semiconductors, woodcrafts and furniture, and bananas
- USA - 14.4% share; $621.44 million total, down 7%; main products are electronics and coconut oil
- China - 13.2% share; $570.19 million total, down 11.2%; main products are mineral products and semiconductors
- Hong Kong - 8.5% share
- South Korea - 7.4%
In a statement on Friday, May 10, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) cited the "brisk performance of agro-based and forest products, minerals, and petroleum" during the period for acting as a buffer to the downward spiral of the electronics industry.
“Year-on-year upsurge in export earnings from agro-based and forest products, minerals, and petroleum offset the decline in receipts from manufactured exports,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
Contributing almost a tenth of total exports, agro-based products jumped 39.3% to $410.8 million in March 2013.
“The opening up of new markets combined with uptick in demand from our key markets resulted in robust performance of our agro-based products, particularly for coconut oil, bananas, copra meal/cake fish products, centrifugal and refined sugar, among others,” added Balisacan.
Exports of mineral products also increased by 71.3% to $228.0 million in March 2013 on account of higher revenues from copper metal, chromium ore, iron ore agglomerates, and nickel.
Overseas sales of petroleum and forest products were up by 16.4% and 80.6%, respectively, during the month. - with reports from Cai Ordinario/Rappler.com