Higher export earnings from total agro-based products, petroleum, minerals, and forest products kept exports in a positive territory for April 2014, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the value of merchandise exports grew to US$4.54 billion, up by 0.8 percent from US$4.51 billion in the same period last year. Exports grew by 12.4 percent in March 2014.

“This slower export growth is not expected to persist in the long-term. Overall, the gradual recovery of the global economy continues to firm up as demand from the Philippines’ other major export markets picked up strongly in April 2014 particularly for Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Germany, Taiwan, and the Netherlands,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

“It is also of note that the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries of the Philippines (SEIPI) remains optimistic that the country’s semiconductor exports will bounce back, keeping the 5.0 percent growth target in electronics exports for 2014,” he added.

Meanwhile, the first four months of 2014 registered an increase in Philippine merchandise exports, amounting to US$18.9 billion, up by 5.4 percent from US$17.9 billion in the same period last year.

With respect to commodities outside manufactures, revenue from total agro-based products sustained a strong performance in April 2014, with 18.1 percent growth, amounting to US$372.1 million.

“This is attributed to higher revenues from fruits and vegetables, coconut products, sugar products, as well as other agro-based products,” said Balisacan.

“The strong outturn in outward sales of fruits and vegetables was mostly due to increased receipts from bananas and pineapple juice. Supporting the overall growth of banana exports was the strong demand from the country’s main export markets such as Japan, the People’s Republic of China (PR China), and the Republic of Korea, alongside the improvements in supply following the rehabilitation of banana plantations that were damaged due to Typhoon Pablo in December 2012,” he added.

On a similar note, the export of petroleum products substantially expanded by 38.5 percent, amounting to US$41.7 million, from US$30.1 million in April 2013.

“This likely reflected the ramped up domestic oil production in the first quarter of 2014 from the Galoc oil field, in addition to the elevated international price of crude oil and a 13.5 percent year-on-year growth in the volume of petroleum shipments” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Similarly, exports revenue from forest products increased from US$7.4 million in the same period last year to US$10.2 million, up by 37.6 percent.

“This is largely due to higher export receipts from lumber, logs, plywood and other forest products,” said Balisacan.

Mineral products also posted a marginal growth of 0.2 percent, with receipts amounting to US$316.0 million in April 2014 from US$315.5 million the previous year.

“Outward shipments from this group are driven by iron ore agglomerates which showed a 235.6 percent upsurge in export quantity, followed by other mineral products,” said Balisacan.

“The strong performance of these four commodity groups buffered the lower overseas sales of manufactures, particularly in the electronics segment,” he added.

Mitigating the decline in manufactured exports are the increased receipts from processed foods and beverages, machinery and transport equipment, electronic equipment and parts, travel goods and handbags, textile yarns/fabrics, non-metallic manufactures, furniture and fixtures, garments, and footwear.

Japan remains as the country’s top exports destination, with a total value of US$939.2 million, accounting for 20.7 percent of our total revenues from merchandise exports.

This is followed by the United States of America (USA) with a 16.2 percent share and the PR China with 12.6 percent.