MANILA—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the Philippines is one of the few Asian economies to register positive growth in exports in June this year, with value of outward shipments growing by 4.1 percent from last year. 

This statement came after the National Statistics Office reported that the value of exported goods and services reached US$4.49 billion in June 2013, which is higher than the US$4.31 billion in June 2012. 

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan noted that most Asian economies registered contractions for the said period, including Japan (-12.4%), Malaysia (-6.0%), Indonesia (-4.1%), Thailand (-3.4%), China (-3.1%), Singapore (-1.5%) and Korea (-1.0%). 

On the other hand, Balisacan cited Viet Nam (13.3%), Taiwan (8.6%) and Hong Kong (4.9%) as among few major trade-oriented Asian economies that recorded positive increases, apart from the Philippines. 

Export growth was driven by higher earnings from agro-based products, mineral products, and petroleum which contributed significantly to the recovery of exports. 

“The rebound of the export sector shows that despite the subdued global economic outlook, the country’s prospects for sustaining good economic performance in the coming months are good,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General. 

The Cabinet official also expects continued increase in banana exports in succeeding months. 

“Based on pronouncements made by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), demand from continental US, Japan, Korea, and Middle East countries will likely increase shipments of bananas in the near-term,” he said. 

According to NSO, growth in the value of exported bananas surged by 73.4 percent in June 2013 compared to 12 months ago. This buoyed the growth of total agro-based exports in June 2013 to 7.6 percent. 

Apart from total agro-based products, Balisacan said higher exports of minerals (35.5%) and petroleum (292.8%) likewise pushed the country’s exports rebound.

“Notable increases were seen in copper concentrates gold and other mineral products, according to the NSO. Most of the growth in other mineral products, which include salt, sulfur, plastering materials, lime and cement, was due to the sizable increase in shipments to Japan, China and Korea,” the NEDA official said. 

He added that the increase in value of petroleum exports was due not only to higher petroleum prices but also to a significant increase in volume, which grew by 279.4 percent. 

Meanwhile, Balisacan mentioned that semiconductor exports may improve in the coming months despite the 12.6-percent contraction in June 2013 from June 2012. 

“According to industry sources, spending on semiconductors by global market leaders is anticipated to increase by 4.2 percent in 2013 as against a flat growth in 2012. Others also projected a moderate growth for the said industry this year,” he said. 

Japan continues to be the top destination of Philippine exports in June 2013, accounting for 21.9 percent of the country’s total export receipts, according to the NSO. It was followed by the United States of America (14.1%), China (13.7%), Singapore (8.7%) and Hong Kong (8.6%).