PH electronics exports keep downward trend

After years of phenomenal growth, the Philippine electronics industry is now experiencing a slump in exports as indicated in the latest economic data.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the country’s once mighty electronics sector suffered a decline in exports by 25.6 percent to $1.7 billion from $2.3 billion a year ago.

“The continued weakening of electronics exports reflects sluggish global demand,” said Rosemarie Edillon of the Neda-National Planning and Policy Staff.

Electronics shipments slowed due to lower overseas sales of electronic data processing (-61.6 percent), semiconductors (-12.1 percent), consumer electronics (-36.5 percent), and automotive electronics (-99.0 percent).

“The decline in semiconductor exports reflected the developments in the global chip market,” the Neda-NPPS official said.

In a report of the United States Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), worldwide chip sales dipped by 1.9 percent from $24.9 billion in July 2011 to $24.4 billion in July 2012.

Despite the drop, the country’s overall merchandise exports increased year-on-year by 7.8 percent to $4.8 billion, bucking the declining trend in the July 2012 exports among most of the Philippines’ Asian neighbors.

“Most of the Asian counterparts of the Philippines registered negative export performance in July 2012, except for Viet Nam and China, as weak economic conditions in major advanced economies continued to cloud the global trade environment,” said Edillon.

Edillon said the Philippines followed Vietnam, which recorded the highest year-on-year exports growth of 8.4 percent. China’s exports increased only by 1.0 percent for July 2012.

The Asian countries that experienced a negative export performance were Taiwan (-11.6 percent), Republic of Korea ( 8.8 percent), Japan (-7.6 percent), Indonesia (-4.5 percent), Thailand (-4.5 percent), Singapore (-3.3 percent), Hong Kong (-3.1 percent), and Malaysia (-1.9 percent).

“Manufactured goods, which rose by 14.8 percent in July 2012 and accounts for 85.9 percent of total exports, buoyed merchandise exports,” she said.

The rise in manufactured goods is attributed to higher earnings from machinery and transport equipment (258.3 percent), chemicals (92.6 percent), other electronics (68.8 percent), wood manufactures (7.3 percent), and processed food and beverages (1.2 percent).

With these figures, merchandise exports increased by 7.7 percent to $31.6 billion for the first seven months of 2012, from $29.3 billion in the same period last year.

The country’s primary agro-based exports that grew for July 2012 included bananas (57 percent), fish products (13.7 percent), and raw coffee (2,702.7 percent).

But coconut and sugar products declined by 25.2 percent and 79.1 percent, respectively, resulting in an overall decline of total agro-based products by 17.4 percent year on year.

Lower receipts from minerals and petroleum products also weighed down export growth in July 2012.

“The growing concerns over slower demand from PR China and Europe affected prices of metal and minerals,” said Edillon.

These exports in metal and mineral products declined by 18.6 percent in July 2012 to $225.0 million from $276.3 million in the same period last year.

The biggest export market of the Philippines in July 2012 was Singapore with a 17.3 percent share of the country’s total export revenues. Following Singapore was Japan (15.9 percent), the USA (13.9 percent), the People’s Republic of China (10.3 percent), and Hong Kong (7.6 percent).

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