Philippine exports grew by 9.3 percent in January 2014 buoyed by the manufacturing sector and sustaining its positive growth momentum for the eighth consecutive month, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The value of merchandise exports expanded to US$4.4 billion in January 2014 from US$4.0 billion in the same period in 2013, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA).
“The upward trajectory of Philippine exports as a result of the buoyant export performance of manufactured products clearly proves the significance of the manufacturing sector as one of our growth drivers,” said Economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan.
Export earnings from manufactured goods continued to post a year-on-year increase in January 2014 at 15.3 percent. These goods reached US$3.8 billion as outbound shipments of electronics products, machinery and transport equipment, electronics equipment and parts, garments, and miscellaneous manufactures registered significant gains.
Balisacan added that the growth in manufactures also added a buffer against the reductions in export earnings from other major commodity groups such as total agro-based products, mineral products, petroleum, and forest products.
Total export receipts from agro-based products contracted by 28.8 percent to US$277.1 million from US$388.9 million in the same period last year. The contraction in the value of total agro-based exports was primarily driven by lower sales of sugar, coconut and fruits and vegetables.
“Despite the setbacks in some commodity groups and other sectors, the Philippines’ merchandise export growth in January 2014 is one of the fastest among selected trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asian region, trailing behind PR China,” said the NEDA Director General.
Japan remains as the top destination of Philippine exports in January 2014, accounting for 26.3 percent of the country’s total overseas merchandise sales receipts, with a total value of US$1.15 billion. Other top markets for Philippine exports, were USA (13.8%), China (9.9%), Singapore (8.8%) and Hong Kong (7.5%).
ESCAP noted that remittances would continue to serve as a stable source of support for the Philippine economy given the better outlook for receiving countries as well as the general lack of short-term volatility in remittance flows.
ESCAP considered the economic performance of the Philippines a “bright spot” among the major economies with large domestic markets in the region.
The Philippines has seen its highest growth in years -above 7 percent in the last four quarters through the third quarter of 2013.
“The role of remittances in supporting buoyant domestic consumption in the country has been important,” ESCAP said.
ESCAP also cited the robust investments in the country, the benign inflation and a relatively low budget deficit that allowed for substantial government spending this year in infrastructure and other basic services.
“The prospects are positive in 2014, despite the losses resulting from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Concerns remain, however, regarding the high unemployment rate and relatively low investment level compared to other similar South-East Asian economies,” it added.
Meanwhile, the ESCAP also sees improving prospects for growth of developing Asia and the Pacific, which is forecast to expand by 5.6 percent in 2014 from an expected 5.2 percent this year.
ESCAP said the projected growth, however, depends on the gradual recovery in developed economies, particularly an increase in growth momentum in the United States, expansion in Japan and progression to positive growth territory of the European Union.
“If the positive outlook in the advanced economies does materialize, import volume growth by these economies is expected to reach a three-year high in 2014. Growth performance in developing economies is thus expected to resume some strength after a sluggish 2013,” ESCAP said.