MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said merchandise exports grew for the third consecutive month this year, outperforming selected countries in Asia in terms of export growth in August 2013. 

This statement came after the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that merchandise exports grew by 20.2 percent in August 2013 to $4.6 billion, from $3.8 billion a year ago. 

NEDA officer-in-charge (OIC) and Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan said this growth was supported by brisk overseas sales in all major commodity groups. 

“We are now reaping the benefits of our efforts to diversify the country’s exports base as seen in the increasing revenues from agro-based, forest, mineral and petroleum products. This, when combined with strong performance of manufactured goods, will bring our exports industry to full recovery and sustained growth,” he said. 

Manufactured goods, which contracted in July, posted a turnaround last month as it rose 8.7 percent to $3.7 billion in August 2013. Hike in exports of garments, wood manufactures, chemicals, and machinery and transport equipment offset the slight decrease in electronic exports during the period. 

Robust growth in mineral products (183.2%), total agro-based products (83.8%), petroleum (115,374.8%) and forest products (86.5%) also contributed to the strong export performance in August. 

“With this growth, the Philippines was the strongest performer among its East and Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of export growth in August 2013,” Tungpalan said. 

Following the Philippines as top export performer, Viet Nam recorded an annual increase of 15.5 percent. Most trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asian region showed positive export performance in August 2013, except for Japan and Indonesia. 

Japan remained as the top exports destination of the Philippines in July 2013, accounting for 25 percent of the country’s total export receipts. This was followed by the US (12.6%), China (10.5%), Singapore (8.5), and Hong Kong (7.6%). 

For the first eight months of 2013, Philippine export earnings decreased marginally by 0.8 percent to $35.0 billion from $35.3 billion in the same period in 2012. 

Tungpalan, who is Deputy Director-General for Investment Programming, is OIC of NEDA while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio M. Balisacan is on official business abroad.