MANILA – Philippine merchandise exports declined by 6.3 percent in August 2015, marking the fifth consecutive month of negative export growth this year, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

 The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that total revenue from Philippine exports fell to US$5.1 billion in August 2015 from US$5.5 billion total receipts recorded in the same period last year.

 “The latest export performance mirrors the recent developments in the global economy: the slowing down of global trade, sluggish momentum in industrial production in major economies, and downward price pressure on commodities,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

“With the absence of fresh triggers to spur renewed demand from major advanced economies, the exports sector is expected to remain constrained in the coming months,” he added.

 All selected trade-oriented economies in East and Southeast Asia posted negative exports growth for August, except Vietnam.

Reduced exports of mineral products weighed down total merchandise exports as it fell by 48.4 percent from US$413.9 million in August 2014 to US$213.6 million in August 2015. The contraction was primarily due to lower earnings from copper metal and other mineral products. 

Furthermore, total export of agro-based products experienced its steepest decline this year at 37.4 percent, marking its seventh consecutive month of lower earnings. This was on account of lower receipts from coconut products, fruits and vegetables, sugar products, and other agro-based products.

“Moreover, the exports sector remains constrained by sluggish global demand, low oil prices, and most importantly, the threat of El Nino to the agriculture sector,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Thus, the Cabinet official urged policy makers to focus on enhancing and designing domestic policies that could mitigate the negative impact of external as well as domestic shocks, such as El Nino.

“Over the medium term, we encourage tapping new markets, diversifying export products, and pursuing innovation in order to secure growth, stability and competitiveness for the export sector,” said Balisacan.

“This, however, must be coupled with government’s effort to develop infrastructure, improve business regulations and logistics, and lessen foreign investment restrictions in the country,” he added.