MANILA – Merchandise exports grew by 9.3 percent in January 2014 buoyed by the manufacturing sector and sustaining its positive growth momentum for the eighth consecutive month, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the value of merchandise exports expanded to US$4.4 billion in January 2014 from US$4.0 billion in the same period in 2013.

“The upward trajectory of Philippine exports as a result of the buoyant export performance of manufactured products clearly proves the significance of the manufacturing sector as one of our growth drivers,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

Export earnings from manufactured goods continued to post a year-on-year increase in January 2014 at 15.3 percent. These goods reached US$3.8 billion as outbound shipments of electronics products, machinery and transport equipment, electronics equipment and parts, garments, and miscellaneous manufactures registered significant gains.

Balisacan added that the growth in manufactures also added a buffer against the reductions in export earnings from other major commodity groups such as total agro-based products, mineral products, petroleum, and forest products.

Total export receipts from agro-based products contracted by 28.8 percent to US$277.1 million from US$388.9 million in the same period last year. The contraction in the value of total agro-based exports was primarily driven by lower sales of sugar, coconut and fruits and vegetables.

“Despite the setbacks in some commodity groups and other sectors, the Philippines’ merchandise export growth in January 2014 is one of the fastest among selected trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asian region, trailing behind PR China,” said the NEDA Director General.

Japan remains as the top destination of Philippine exports in January 2014, accounting for 26.3 percent of the country’s total overseas merchandise sales receipts, with a total value of US$1.15 billion. Other top markets for Philippine exports, were USA (13.8%), PR China (9.9%), Singapore (8.8%) and Hong Kong (7.5%).