Apr 102013

MANILA, Philippines – Merchandise exports continued to decline in February amid weak performance of shipments of electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, special transactions and apparel, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said.

Data released by the NSO yesterday showed the value of merchandise exports fell by 15.6 percent to $3.741 billion in February from $4.430 billion in February last year.

Compared to the $4.011 billion in January, export earnings in February were down 6.7 percent.

For the first two months of the year, the value of merchandise exports reached $7.752 billion, 9.4 percent lower from a year ago.

Electronic products, the country’s top export, were valued at $1.483 billion in February, a 36.5-percent decrease from a year ago.

Earnings from shipments of machinery and transport equipment which amounted to $131.50 million in February, slumped 63.6 percent from the same month last year.

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Special transactions, which include replacements and goods returned to the country, which were exported were valued at $90.37 million, 38.4 percent lower year-on-year.

The value or articles of apparel and clothing accessories shipped overseas dipped slightly to $144.70 million from $146.17 million a year ago.

Japan was the top destination of Philippine merchandise exports in February, with its 18.9-percent share amounting to $705.93 million, down by 11.4 percent from a year ago.

University of the Philippines economist Benjamin Diokno said in an email yesterday that given the latest exports data, economic managers will have to go back to the planning board.

“Philippine exports suffered its steepest fall since December 2011. The original exports growth target of 12 percent is in serious jeopardy,” he said.

“It’s not panic time yet, but it sure is time for the economic managers to put in place whatever contingency plans they have designed earlier, if any,” he added.

For his part, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said in a telephone interview yesterday it may be difficult to meet the 11 percent exports growth target of the group and the Export Development Council for this year.        

He said he is optimistic though that non-electronic shipments would improve in the coming months.

“Hopefully for electronics, something good can happen in the economies of Europe and US,” he said.       

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