As electronics falter, PH posts record-high exports

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Despite a contraction again in electronic exports, the Philippines posted the highest annual growth in merchandise exports in December 2012 among its trade-oriented neighbors in East and Southeast Asia, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Merchandise exports jumped by 16.5 percent in December 2012, a significant turnaround from the 18.9-percent contraction in December 2011.

However, electronics exports registered a 5.5-percent contraction from $1.6 billion in December 2011to $1.5 billion in December 2012.

?This mirrored the declining global market for personal computers due to cautious IT spending and the increasing popularity of electronic tablets. Nevertheless, the sustained increase in export receipts from semiconductors partly mitigated the further decline in electronics exports,? said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

But Balisacan said the country?s strong export performance in December 2012 reflects the generally improved prospects in the global economy on the back of policy support implemented by major economies, most notably of the Euro area, the United States (US), and Japan

Other Asian economies that recorded positive export growth in December 2012 include Hong Kong (14.8 percent), China (14.1 percent), Vietnam (14.1 percent), Thailand (13.5 percent) and Taiwan (9.0 percent).

But for full-year 2012, export earnings grew by 7.6 percent to $52.0 billion from $48.3 billion in 2011.

?This is, however, below the Development Budget Coordination Committee-approved export growth assumption of 10.0 percent for the year,? the Cabinet official said.

The country?s total export earnings reached $4.0 billion in December 2012 from $3.4 billion in the same period in 2011 as outward shipments of manufactured goods (17.8 percent), total agro-based products (19.1 percent), petroleum (137.0 percent) and forest products (29.9 percent) posted annual gains.

The strong performance of manufactured exports was attributed to higher receipts from machinery and transport equipment (138.8 percent), electronic equipment and parts (52.4 percent), wood manufactures (51.3 percent), processed food and beverages (40.4 percent), chemicals (15.1 percent), travel goods and handbags (453.7 percent), miscellaneous manufactures (25.1 percent), baby carriage and toys (48.4 percent), furniture and fixtures (17.6 percent), basket work, wicker work and other articles of plaiting materials (56.1 percent), footwear (96.8 percent) and iron and steel (4.3 percent).

?The renewed demand for manufactures may be partly traced to a firming global manufacturing sector with the purchasing managers? index (PMI) showing a slight expansion in December 2012 at 50.2 index point,? said Balisacan.

Total agro-based exports amounted to $379.8 million in December 2012, up by 19.1 percent from $318.8 million in December 2011. Similarly, petroleum exports grew by 137.0 percent in December 2012 to $95.1 million from $40.1 million in the same period in 2011.

Japan was the top destination of Philippine exports in December 2012, accounting for 18.0 percent of total export receipts. The US came in second with a 12.7 percent-share followed by China (10.5 percent), Hong Kong (9.6 percent), and Singapore (8.6 percent).

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