MANILA—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that export of semiconductors will likely improve in the remaining months of the year due to the anticipated increase in global demand. 

This statement came after the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported last Wednesday a lower value of exports in May 2013 compared with a year ago. Exports of goods and services declined by 0.8 percent amounting to US$4.89 billion. 

“Prospects for semiconductor exports may improve as global demand for electronics is anticipated to increase in the near term. 

Industry sources have projected a moderate growth for semiconductor industry in 2013,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan. 

The Cabinet official explained that this prospect is consistent with the higher global sales of semiconductors in May 2013 due to the expected expansion in demand, mostly for memory and logic products. 

Balisacan said that the almost-flat exports growth in May 2013 was due to the performance of manufactured goods, whose earnings were reduced by 11.3 percent compared to the same month in 2012. Outward shipment of electronics, which are under manufactured goods, was also lower by 9.3 percent for the same period. 

“After posting a year-on-year increase in April 2013, the value of export receipts from semiconductors dropped in May 2013, due to reduced shipments to Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia. These Asian neighbors accounted for 45 percent of our semiconductor export revenues during the period,” he said. 

In a keynote speech for the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) held also last Wednesday, Balisacan emphasized the importance of increasing investments for science and technology (S&T) in improving the exports sector. 

“At present, high-technology exports in manufacturing are largely concentrated in three product groups, namely electronics, garments, and machinery and transport equipment. Thus, we need to harness appropriate S&T to address the constraints and challenges facing the sector,” he said. 

These challenges include weak forward and backward linkages of low value products with other industries, problems of small- and medium-scale enterprises (SME) in terms of their competitiveness and linkages with large industries, among others. 

“To lessen our export dependence on mainly electronics and semiconductors, we hope that our private sector partners will also diversify and expand production of high value products and increase investments on the linkages of our industries,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General. 

In a separate statement, Balisacan, however, noted strong export performances in the value of other mineral products (119.3%), wood manufactures (87.8%), chemicals (55.0%), other manufactured products (26.7%), processed food and beverages (59.8%), consumer electronics (281.5%) and bananas (60.0%). 

“The sizable increase in shipments of other mineral products contributed to the 136.8-percent increase in the export of overall mineral products in May 2013. Exports of other mineral products to Japan, China, and South Korea accounted for most of the growth in mineral product exports in May 2013,” he said. 

Other mineral products include those related to salt, sulfur, plastering materials, lime and cement. 

As to the performance of banana exports, Balisacan expects this trend to continue after May 2013 based on pronouncements made by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) that shipments of Cavendish bananas are set for delivery to the United States by June 2013, after several months of delay. 

Meanwhile, receipts from petroleum exports increased by 521.3 percent to US$129.7 million in May 2013 from US$20.9 million in May 2012. “This was due to the significant increase in the volume of exported petroleum, which grew by 672.0 percent year-on-year,” said Balisacan. 

Comparing the country’s May 2013 exports performance with selected Asian economies, the NEDA official said that Thailand recorded the steepest decline (-5.2%), partly due to the Thai baht appreciation and the adverse effect of prevailing global weaknesses in developed economies. Malaysia (-3.1%) and Indonesia (-1.8%) also recorded declines for the said period. 

On the other hand, Viet Nam posted a 20.9-percent growth that was supported by higher shipments of communication products, textile and garments, footwear, electronics and crude oil during the period.frtdlee It was followed by Japan (10%), Hong Kong (4.6%), South Korea (3.2%), Singapore (2.8%), China (1.0%), and Taiwan (0.9%).