PH merchandise exports dip by 5.6% in 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Weak demand from principal trading partners caused Philippine exports to fall in 2015, but the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is predicting a major upturn this year.
Philippine merchandise exports declined by 5.6% in 2015 compared to 2014 affected by weaker demand from Japan and China, the Philippines' top two export markets, the DTI said in a statement on Tuesday, February 16.
When combined with services-export data, with an estimated growth rate of 5.2%, the projected total exports declined by 2.4% from 2014, the DTI said.
The trade department explained that the decline in merchandise exports was "reflective of the overall export downtrend in neighboring ASEAN countries as well as the bigger regional market in Asia."
It also pointed out that except for Vietnam, Japan, and Malaysia, many trade-oriented countries in Asia suffered lower export volumes and values in 2015.
On the supply side, the effects of the El Niño weather also affected production and exports of agricultural and fishery products.
"Despite the regional downtrend in exports last year, the decline in merchandise exports in greater Asia and the Philippines has been decelerating, giving hope to many trade experts in Asia and the ASEAN that the export picture in the region is brightening," the DTI said.
Philippine merchandise exports posted dipped by 3% in December 2015, a slight improvement from the 5.8% decrease posted for the first 11 months of 2015.
Growth for 2016
This, along with the recently signed 2015-2017 Philippine Export Development Plan (PDEP), has given the government optimism for the country's exports in 2016.
Under the PEDP, merchandise exports are projected to grow between 5.4% and 8% this year, and between 6.7% and 10% in 2017.
Services exports are estimated to increase between 9% and 10.3% this year, and between 9.9% and 12% in 2017.
Total exports are seen to expand between 6.6% and 8.8% this year, and between 7.7% and 10.6% in 2017.
The DTI, however, has expressed further optimism that exports will go beyond forecasted figures. It has adopted a target growth range of 8% to 9% for total exports in 2016.
"We expect merchandise exports to get back on a growth track in 2016. Electronics exports can be expected to post moderate growth while non-electronics could snap back with the waning effects of El Niño on agricultural production and exports," said Senen Perlada, director of the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB).
"We also see a deceleration of the decline in the country's goods exports to continue until the trend shifts to a growth path this year. We also expect the robust services exports in 2015 to somewhat lift total exports to a lower single-digit figure," he added. – Rappler.com