MANILA—Merchandise exports sustained its positive annual growth in March 2014 at 11.2 percent. This is the second consecutive month of double-digit growth after the revised figure of 11.6 percent last month, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that total export receipts totaled US$5.2 billion in March 2014, up from US$ 4.7 billion in the previous year due to sales of manufactures, total agro-based, forest and mineral products.

“Manufactures remain as the major contributor for export growth. Accounting for 84.5 percent of our total merchandise exports, this means that we are riding the wave of a sustained expansion in global manufacturing activity,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The PSA reported that export earnings from manufactured goods reached US$ 4.4 billion, up by 13.5 percent from US$3.9 billion registered in March 2013.

Balisacan noted that the performance of manufactures was mainly due to increased outbound sales in diverse commodities, such as electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, wood manufactures, processed food and beverages, non-metallic manufactures, furniture and fixtures, textile yarns and fabrics, and garments, among other products.

Apart from manufactures, total agro-based products also managed to sustain a robust growth in March 2014, with their exports value reaching US$469.2 million, or up by 22.1 percent from US$384.3 million in March 2013.

“Higher domestic production of banana, mango and pineapple in the fourth quarter of 2013, along with strong demand from Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Middle East and the United States of America (USA), boosted the export volume of these goods,” the Cabinet official said.

“The Philippines’ sugar quota commitment with the USA also contributed to higher export volume of sugar products in March 2014,” added Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

He said the Philippines shipped 45.3 million gross kilos of centrifugal and refined sugar to the USA after being unable to export sugar since November 2013 due to the effects of super typhoon Yolanda and the Sugar Regulatory Authority’s (SRA) earlier decision to trim down sugar’s allocation for exports.

Meanwhile, forest products registered export gains amounting to US$9.9 million in March 2014, higher by 76.1 percent in the same month last year.

“The higher international prices of other forest products and logs may have contributed to the gains in the exports value of these commodities,” said Balisacan.

He added that export revenues from mineral products, which grew by 0.8 percent, can be traced to Japan’s demand for strong export volume of iron ore.

Despite strong growth in manufactures, total agro-based, forest and mineral products, the PSA reported lower export income from petroleum products in March 2014 that amounted to only US$17.5 million. This was lower by 76.5 percent compared to US$74.3 million in March 2013.

“Despite the weak performance in outward shipments of petroleum, the Philippines remains among the top performers in merchandise exports growth, alongside Vietnam,” said Balisacan.

For the first quarter of 2014, exports sales totaled US$14.3 billion, higher by 6.5 percent from US$13.4 billion in the same period last year.

Japan remained as the top destination of Philippine exports in March 2014 with a total value of US$ 1.3 billion, accounting for 25 percent of our country’s total revenues from merchandise exports.

Other top markets for Philippine exports were USA (13.7%), China (10.7%), Hong Kong (7.9%), Singapore (7.5%), Germany (4.6%), South Korea (4.5%), Thailand (3.8%), Taiwan (3.5%), and the Netherlands (3.3%).