Exports sustain double-digit growth in March

NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan says the latest export figures show that the Philippines is 'riding the wave of a sustained expansion in global manufacturing activity'

SUSTAINED DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH. Exports continue to grow by double digits on recovering demand from the Philippines' trading partners. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines –  Merchandise exports sustained double-digit growth for the second consecutive month in March,  growing by 11.2% compared to the same month last year, the National Economic and Development Authority announced on Friday, May 9.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that total export receipts totaled US$5.2 billion in March 2014 from US$ 4.7 billion in the previous year due to sales of manufactures, total agro-based, forest and mineral products.

NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement that manufactures remained as the major driver of export growth in March.

“Accounting for 84.5% of our total merchandise exports, this means that we are riding the wave of a sustained expansion in global manufacturing activity,” Balisacan said.  

The PSA reported that export earnings from manufactured goods reached US$ 4.4 billion a 13.5%  increase from US$3.9 billion in March 2013.

Balisacan said higher manufactures exports was due to higher outbound sales in diverse commodities including electronics, machinery and transport equipment, wood manufactures, processed food and beverages, non-metallic manufactures, furniture and fixtures, textile yarns and fabrics, and garments.

Total agro-based products also managed to sustain a robust growth in March 2014, with exports value reaching US$469.2 million, 22.1% higher than the US$384.3 million receipts in March 2013, NEDA said.

Balisacan said the increased export volume of agro-based products was due to higher domestic production of banana, mango and pineapple in the fourth quarter of 2013, and strong demand from Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Middle East and the United States.

He added that the Philippines’ sugar quota commitment with the US also contributed to higher export volume of sugar products in March. The country shipped 45.3 million gross kilos of centrifugal and refined sugar to the US during that period.

The NEDA chief said sugar exports to the US were affected by  the destruction inflicted by Super Typhoon Yolanda on Eastern Visayas, and the Sugar Regulatory Authority’s earlier decision to trim down sugar’s allocation for exports.

Meanwhile, forest products posted a 76.1% increase in exports amounting to US$9.9 million in March.

Balisacan said that the “higher international prices of other forest products and logs may have contributed to the gains in the exports value of these commodities.”

He also said that export revenues from mineral products, which grew by 0.8%, can be traced to Japan’s demand for strong export volume of iron ore.

The PSA also reported that petroleum products posted lower exports in March 2014 – amounting to only US$17.5 million, 76.5% lower than  in March 2013.

Despite this Balisacan said, the Philippines “remains among the top performers in merchandise exports growth, alongside Vietnam.” 

For the first quarter of 2014, exports sales totaled US$14.3 billion, a  6.5% increase from the same period last year.

Japan remained as the top destination of Philippine exports in March 2014 with a total value of US$1.3 billion, accounting for 25% of the country’s total revenues from merchandise exports.

Other top markets for Philippine exports were USA (13.7%), China (10.7%), Hong Kong (7.9%), Singapore (7.5%), Germany (4.6%), South Korea (4.5%), Thailand (3.8%), Taiwan (3.5%), and the Netherlands (3.3%). – Rappler.com

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