First half Philippine exports up 37%

A hefty 37.7 percent rebound in Philippine exports for the first half of this year over the same period last year brought export earnings close to that in 2008.

In cash terms, the latest National Statistics Office (NSO) figures had shown that total exports from January to June 2010 of $23.711 billion topped by $6.5 billion the export performance first half of 2009 of $17.225 billion.

Deliveries in the third quarter of the year are expected to sustain the high growth path shown in the first half.

Historical experience during periods of growth indicated that buyers made bigger orders in this quarter for the expected surge for Christmas shopping.

Industry leaders have projected that if the high double-digit growth from January to June holds, total exports by the end of the year may come close to reaching figures in 2008, when total merchandise sales abroad hit $49.07 billion.

It is seen to range between $47 and $48 billion. Proven as top seller of the half-year period in review was coconut oil, surging at a hefty 184.46 percent in six months with over half a billion dollars in sales, and catapulting itself to over-all sixth placer among the country’s top 10 export goods.

Philippine exports peaked in the year 2007 when these reached a record high of $50.46 billion in revenues. It may take the industry another year of double-digit growth to stage a full recovery and surpass pre-crisis record.

 The latest cumulative figures for the first half of the year of recovery indicated that about two thirds of the country’s top 30 export commodities have followed the growth path, with Philippine tuna posting its first positive growth this year in the month of June.

While most manufactured goods including handicrafts have joined the recovery bandwagon, a number of the country’s leading farm and fishery export products continued to post negative growth for the first half of 2010.

Leading the losers were bananas whose sales declined by 30.30 percent below 2009 levels, followed by sugar that posted a minus 26 percent growth and pineapple which dropped by 18.86 percent.

Dessicated coconut was the fourth big loser in the first half of the year, sliding by 14.47 percent. Still struggling to join the winners were two groups of fishery products, shrimps and prawns which posted a 6.86 retreat and tuna which sold 4.21 percent less in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

Among the manufactured goods, footwear stood like a sore thumb as the lone laggard, registering a 68.22 percent decline in sales of only $4.4 million compared to the first half of last year when it hauled in $14 million.