PH exports continue to fall in July

MANILA, Philippines – Lower sales in total agro-based and mineral products pulled down Philippine merchandise exports by 1.8% in July 2015, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported Thursday, September 10.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Thursday that total revenue from Philippine exports settled at $5.3 billion – $0.1 billion lower than the total receipts recorded in the same period last year.

The value of total agro-based products fell for the sixth consecutive month in July 2015, declining by 24.5% to $322.2 million from $426.7 million in July 2014. This is traced to lower exports recorded from all commodity segments, particularly fruits and vegetables such as banana, coconut products, sugar products, and other agro-based products.

Although agro-based exports account for only 5% of the Philippines’ total exports, its implication on the domestic economy is significant as the agricultural sector hosts a sizeable portion of the country’s work force.

"Measures to mitigate the impact of El Niño remain important in the near-term, which should include crop and/or work substitution programs,” Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

The lower value of outward shipments can be traced to reduced exports of total agro-based products and mineral products moderated by sustained strong performances recorded from manufactured goods, most notably electronics and petroleum, Balisacan added.

Exports of mineral products contracted by 47.5% to $228.7 million in July 2015 from $435.9 million in July 2014, due to lower earnings from chromium ore and other mineral products.

These reductions in export values significantly outweighed the higher earnings from copper concentrates (27.4%), iron ore agglomerates (41.4%), and gold (2.5%).

Easing commodity prices

Meanwhile, the lower growth in exports was moderated by higher overseas sales to China, which grew by 24.1%. 

Despite depressed oil prices, Philippine exports of petroleum products reached $78.6 million in July 2015, up by 140.7% from the same period last year as exports to Malaysia (270.3%), South Korea (100.0%), and India (100.0%) significantly increased.

Easing commodity prices worldwide could dampen export revenue prospects in the near-term, and the outlook for semiconductor exports remains on the downside, Balisacan said.

"Exports of semiconductors are expected to slow down in the fourth quarter of the year owing to weak orders from the EU (European Union), China, and Japan,” he added.

“Thus, policies geared toward increasing domestic demand are essential to counter external weaknesses and to ensure that the country’s growth trajectory remains on track,” Balisacan said. Rappler.com