“This favorable performance mainly reflected the broadly upbeat sentiments of the business sector in the second quarter of 2013. Based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) business expectations survey, firms cited expansion of businesses, new product lines, brisker business and seasonal uptick in demand as the factors behind their buoyant outlook,” he said.
Semi-processed raw materials, which accounts for about 87 percent of total raw and intermediate goods, expanded by 11.1 percent, driven primarily by materials for the manufacture of electrical equipment (20.6%), manufactured goods (13.2%), embroideries (211.5%), and animal feeds (10.6%), according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Balisacan said that the rebound in importation of materials and accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment may have been due to the anticipation of a higher global demand for electronics.
“International industry analysts see that semiconductor industry will grow moderately in 2013. This may signal a recovery in the country’s electronics exports in the coming months following a series of contractions since December 2012,” he said.
Import payments for consumer goods grew by 7.9 percent to US$712.9 million in May 2013 from US$660.8 million in the same period in 2012.
“This positive outturn mirrored the improved outlook of consumers in the second quarter of 2013 as a result of optimistic employment expectations and strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Based on BSP’s consumer expectations survey for the second quarter of 2013, consumers generally view the period as a favorable time to buy durable goods,” said Balisacan.
Balisacan pointed out that major trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asian region posted annual contractions in merchandise imports in May 2013, except for Hong Kong (9.1%) and Malaysia (0.5%).
“Japan recorded the steepest decline in imports among selected Asian countries during the period. The contraction in Japan’s overseas purchases by 13.1 percent may have resulted from the year-on-year depreciation of yen against the US dollar,” Balisacan said.
Other countries that recorded negative imports performance in May 2013 were Taiwan (-8.0%), South Korea (-4.6%), Singapore (-3.4%), Indonesia (-2.2%), Thailand (-2.1%), and China (-0.3%).
For the first five months of 2013, the total value of merchandise imports contracted by 3.6 percent to US$24.8 billion from US$25.7 billion in 2012, according to the NSO.
Balisacan said that most Asian counterparts also recorded negative import performance for the first five months of 2013. Among them are Japan (-8.7%), Singapore (-4.4%), South Korea (-2.8%), Indonesia (-1.8%), and Taiwan (-0.9%).
KOIMA regularly conducts sourcing activities overseas to obtain raw materials for the production of export goods. Philippine-Korean trade grew from US$5.5 billion in 2007 to $7.4 billion in 2012.
Exports increased from $2.2 billion in 2011 to $2.9 billion in 2012, making South Korea the sixth largest market for Philippine exports.
On the other hand, imports from South Korea rose from $4.4 billion in 2011 to $4.5 billion 2012, making it the Philippines’ fifth top source of imports.
South Korean Ambassador Lee Hyuk said his country lacks natural resources and is looking to tap the Philippines, blessed with natural wealth, to supply his country with a range of manufacturing raw materials.
These include agricultural, steel, mineral, and petrochemical products. There is also a growing need for electronic components and high-tech materials required for genetic engineering, nanotechnology, robotics, and next-generation semiconductors.