Philippine exporters urged to access non-traditional export markets

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has urged Philippine exporters to refocus their strategies particularly accessing the non-traditional export markets as exports remained weak.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia expects export growth to remain muted for the rest of 2016 with the slow recovery of the global economy.

Pernia urged exporters to consider exporting to European countries. Exports to France and Switzerland grew by 37.8 percent and 72.0 percent, respectively, for the first five months of 2016.

Exports declined by 3.8 percent year-on-year in May 2016 to US$4.7 billion as export of all commodity groups slowed down.

Exports of agro-based products fell by 29.4 percent, mineral products by 13.6 percent, manufactures by 0.5 percent, forest products by 82.6 percent, and petroleum products by 33.4 percent. However, this is a noticeable easing off since the 15.1-percent decline in March 2016.

On the other hand, exports to traditional markets such as Germany and the Netherlands declined by 18.8 percent and 10.6 percent.

Pernia stressed the importance of increasing the flexibility of export firms to cater to the domestic market, given robust domestic demand.

“We also need to keep government spending on track to ensure that domestic demand continues to provide a cushion to mitigate the impact of the country’s weak exports growth,” said Pernia.

In terms of export markets, Japan (22.1%) remains on top in May 2016 with exports growing by 1.5 percent for the month and averaging 1.3 percent for the first five months.

Among seven selected Asian economies, only Vietnam posted positive export growth of 4.9 percent in May 2016, although lower than the previous month’s 7.5 percent.