Exports plunge 6.3% in August
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - October 9, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Philippine exports fell for a fifth straight month in August mainly due to declines of six out of 10 major commodities.

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) yesterday showed export sales totaled $5.127 billion in August 2015, a 6.3% down from $5.471 billion recorded in August 2014.

 The fall in August was deeper than the 1.8% drop in July. Exports in April, May and June also posted contractions at 4.1%, 17.4% and 1.79%, respectively. Exports last saw positive growth in March when they grew 2%.

 Combined merchandise exports for the eight-month period of 2015 totaled $39.341 billion, falling by 4.4% from $41.130 billion last year.

 The falling shipments of some commodities were blamed for the negative growth in August. These include mineral products; articles of apparel and clothing accessories; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles; aircrafts and ships; chemicals; metal components; and other manufacturers.

 In contrast, electronic products which accounted for 46% of total exports revenue in August 2015, rose 3.3% to $2.353 billion from $2.277 billion in August 2014. Semiconductors, which comprise the biggest share of electronic exports at 33.5%, grew 8.6% to $1.718 billion in August this year from $1.581 billion in August 2014.

 Machinery and transport equipment was the second top export earner, with revenue up by 41.4% to $405.89 million. Electronic equipment and parts posted the highest gain, rising 185.7% to $268.66 million.

 Double-digit declines were seen during the month in other export goods: ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles (-37.4%); metal components (-10.6%), chemicals (-27.8%); other mineral products (-63.2%); and articles of apparel and clothing accessories (39.3%).

 Outbound shipments of manufactured goods — which include electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, garments, processed food and beverages, among others — went up 0.4% to $4.437 billion, accounting for 86.5% of total export receipts in August.

 Exports to Japan — the Philippines' top export market — dropped 1.6% to $1.028 billion, comprising 20% share to total August exports. Following Japan as major export markets are the US and China whose receipts also significantly went down by 4% and 23.5%, respectively, to $766.38 million and $627.31 million. 

 “The latest export performance mirrors the recent developments in the global economy: the slowing down of global trade, sluggish momentum in industrial production in major economies, and downward price pressure on commodities,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement yesterday.

 “With the absence of fresh triggers to spur renewed demand from major advanced economies, the exports sector is expected to remain constrained in the coming months,” he added.

 Balisacan pointed out the exports sector remains constrained by sluggish global demand, low oil prices and El Niño’s threat to the agriculture sector. The NEDA chief urged policy makers to focus on enhancing and designing policies that could lessen the impact of external and domestic shocks. 

 “Over the medium term, we encourage tapping new markets, diversifying export products, and pursuing innovation in order to secure growth, stability and competitiveness for the export sector,” said Balisacan.

 “This, however, must be coupled with government’s effort to develop infrastructure, improve business regulations and logistics, and lessen foreign investment restrictions in the country,” he further added. (FREEMAN)

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