January export growth slows to 11.8%

- Rica Delfinado -

MANILA, Philippines –  The country’s merchandise exports rose 11.8 percent to $4 billion in January from $3.579 billion in the same period last year, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported yesterday.

The latest figure, however, was 4.8 percent lower than the $4.2 billion recorded last December and a slow down from the 42.4 percent growth recorded in January last year, when demand was starting to recover following the economic crisis.

Electronic shipments, which accounted for the bulk, or 53.5 percent of total exports, rose 5.3 percent to $2.142 billion in January.

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories followed as the second top export earner in January with total receipts of $162.35 million or a share of 4.1 percent to the total.

Coconut oil, including crude and refined, emerged as the country’s third top gainer with revenue valued at $160.18 million. Exports of this particular product increased by 57 percent from $102.03 million recorded during the same month in 2010.

Ranked fourth in January 2011 and contributing 2.6 percent share to the total export receipts was woodcrafts and furniture with earnings amounting to $105.83 million. This figure expanded by 36.5 percent from its year ago level of $77.56 million.

Ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships consisting only of electrical wiring harness for motor vehicles with 2.4 percent share to the total export receipts ranked fifth with value posted at $95.88 million or an equivalent 30.3 percent increment from $73.60 million posted in January 2010.

Rounding up the list of the 10 exports for January were metal components (excluding brakes and servo-brakes) with $62.27 million; petroleum products (including refined petroleum products manufactured from crude petroleum oil imported on consignment basis) with $41.14 million; gold (extracted from copper ores and concentrates) with $41 million; bananas (fresh) with $39.85 million; and other products manufactured from materials imported on consignment basis with earnings valued at $35.51 million. 

The government has forecast exports to climb 10 percent and imports by 18 percent this year, way below growth rates in 2010. Exports grew 34 percent and imports 27 percent in 2010.

In 2012, exports are projected to rise 12 percent and imports to increase by 18 percent.

The government is targeting seven percent to eight percent economic growth this year, after a 7.3 percent annual expansion in 2010, although it has a growth assumption of five percent in the budget.

The Philippines provides about 10 percent of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing services, including for mobile phone chips and micro processors.

Accounting for 84.5 percent of the total export receipts in January 2011, outward shipments of manufactured goods amounted to $3.380 billion, representing an increase of 8.5 percent from $3.116 billion recorded in January 2010.

Income from total agro-based products comprising 8.3 percent share of the total exports revenue in January 2011 rose by 57.8 percent to $332.15 million from $210.43 million in January 2010. Compared to its previous month level, it increased by 11.4 percent from $298.16 million in December 2010.

Earnings from mineral products with a share of 3.1 percent in January 2011 reached $123.34 million. It swelled by 40.3 percent from $87.90 million in January 2010. However, export receipts from special transactions reflecting three percent share was lower by 8.4 percent from $132.68 million posted in January 2010 to $121.48 million in January 2011.

Petroleum products accounting for one percent share of the total exports revenue grew by 36.3 percent to $41.14 million from $30.17 million in January 2010. Similarly, Forest Products with 0.1 percent share was higher by 19.6 percent to $2.60 million in January 2011 from $2.18 million in January 2010.

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