MANILA — Value of merchandise exports grew 22.8 percent to US$4.8 billion in September 2012 compared to a year ago, making the Philippines the strongest performer among its East and Southeast Asian neighbors for the period, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The Philippines emerged on top of countries in the region that posted positive growth in exports in September 2012, which includes Hong Kong (15.8%), Vietnam (15.6%), Taiwan (10.4%), China (9.9%), and Thailand (0.2%).
“The strong export performance mainly reflected the moderate improvement in global economic activity as industrial production and business confidence indicators showed signs of recovery,” said Emmanuel F. Esguerra, Deputy Director-General of NEDA’s National Development Office for Planning and Policy.
Japan recorded the steepest fall in exports with an 11.8-percent decline in the same period, followed by Indonesia (-9.4%), Singapore (-4.8%), and the Republic of Korea (-2.0%).
For the first three quarters of 2012, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that total merchandise exports reached US$40.1 billion, which is up by 7.2 percent from US$37.4 billion in the same period last year.
“The Philippines is only one of four East and Southeast Asian countries that posted positive growths in the first nine months of 2012, along with Vietnam (18.3%), China (7.4%), and Hong Kong (1.8%),” said Esguerra.
According to the NSO, annual gains in shipment revenues from manufactures (29.0%), forest products (185.0%) and petroleum (7.4%) supported the robust growth of total merchandise exports in September 2012.
Manufactured exports rose to US$4.1 billion from US$3.2 billion in September 2011. This was due to higher revenues from miscellaneous manufactures (1,434.8%), electronic equipment and parts (142.5%), wood manufactures (87.2%), electronic products (1.1%), processed food and beverages (23.1%), baby carriage and toys (56.2%), iron and steel (59.3%), furniture and fixtures (16.6%) and footwear (134.1%).
“Improved overall demand for the country’s manufactured exports was mainly due to the generally favorable developments in global industrial production, with new orders further showing signs of expansion following persistent declines,” the NEDA official said.
However, electronic exports grew by only 1.1 percent (US$1.83 billion) in September 2012 following five consecutive months of contractions since April 2012.
“The nearly flat performance of electronics shipments was due to the drag coming from electronic data processing (EDP) units amid renewed strengths in other electronics sub-segments such as telecommunication, which was projected to surpass computers as one of the leading market drivers,” said Esguerra.
He added that the observed weakness in overseas sales of EDP units in September 2012 (-26.6%) was due to consumers’ greater preference for lower-end desktop PCs and notebook computers over higher-performance models on account of a still sluggish global economy.
As for forest products, the robust overseas sales growth was due to significant boosts in export receipts from logs and lumber, which recorded an increase of 4,448.6 percent and 29.1 percent, respectively.
Likewise, petroleum exports increased to US$62.7 million from US$58.3 million in September 2011. This was due to the 41.2-percent growth in the volume of petroleum shipments year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Japan was the top destination of Philippine exports in September 2012, with a 30.8-percent share of total export receipts. Following Japan were the United States of America, (12.6%), People’s Republic of China (11.1%), Hong Kong SAR (7.5%) and Singapore (7.1%).
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