MANILA, Philippines – After a lackluster performance for almost a year, the country’s merchandise exports posted a 10-month high of 14.6% in February, prompting analysts to say the a recovery is on its way.
Philippine exports increased to $4.431 billion in February 2012 from $3.865 billion recorded in the same period in 2011, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO) press release on Thursday, April 11.
The NSO noted that this pace of growth was the highest since April 2011 when exports grew 19.12%.
This brought the aggregate exports for the first two months of 2012 to $8.554 billion, an 8.8% increase from $7.865 billion posted during the same two-month period in 2011, the NSO said.
The double-digit growth in the export of electronics products fueled the overall recovery.
Growth in electronics
Shipment of electronic products reached $2.333 billion in February 2012, a 15.8% growth from $2.015 billion in February 2011
Electronics accounted for 52.7% of total export earnings.
Shipment of semiconductors, which account for bulk of exported electronics and 37.9% of total exports, reached $1.681 billion or an increase of 15.9% from $1.451 billion registered in February 2011.
Analysts and economists have warned the Philippines of over dependence on just one product, electronics.
This leaves the Philippines vulnerable when rich nations, which are also the Philippines’ main trading partners, encounter an economic slowdown.
This was especially true in 2011, when exports almost ground to a halt, pulling down the overall economic growth of the Philippines to 3.7% from 7.6% in 2010.
BDO Treasury Group-Market Research First Vice President Jonathan L. Ravelas said the recovery in export earnings was “better than expected.”
“This could the start of a recovery for Philippine exports. Hopefully, this trend holds,” Ravelas said.
He added, however, that the recovery in the United States, a trading partner, remains weak. Some countries in Europe, on the other hand, are still implementing austerity measures, thus, volatile demand may not be reassuring enough to Philippine exports.
Ravelas said BDO is maintaining its conservative 5% to 6% outlook on export growth this year. Ravelas said any change in this outlook will depend on how good or bad the first quarter performance and early second quarter numbers will be.
“We maintain our view that 2012 will be more like 2011. So we are cautiously optimistic,” Ravelas said.
Main export destinations
According to the NSO, the main destinations of Philippine exports in February were:
- Japan, including Okinawa, $796.56 million, 18% share to total exports
- United States of America (USA), including Alaska and Hawaii, $687.64 million, 15.5% share
- People’s Republic of China, $588.89 million, 13.3% share
Top regional destinations of Philippine exports in February were:
- East Asia, $2.166 billion, up 28% from previous year, and has 48.9% share to total exports
- ASEAN member-countries, $743.19 million, down 3.5%, and has 16.8% share
- European Union (EU), $567.62 million, up 7.1%, and has 12.8% share