Philippine exports fell by 3.9 percent in January 2016, with lower earnings from all major commodity groups, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that merchandise exports fell to US$4.2 billion in January 2016 from US$4.4 billion recorded in the same month last year.

“The year 2016 is expected to be a challenging one for the export sector as the global economy faces sluggish economic recovery and uneven growth. We see global trade growth remaining at a low level as the world copes with soft demand and lower commodity prices,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra.

Reflecting sluggish global demand, most of the major East and Southeast Asian trade-oriented economies registered negative growth in January 2016, with Vietnam registering the least decline, and Singapore, the steepest decline.

Export of manufactured goods dropped by 2.2 percent, falling to US$3.7 billion in January 2016.

“The fall in exports of manufactured products mirrors the general weakness of the global manufacturing sector. However, worth noting is the 5-percent increase in the exports of electronic products that registered its eighth consecutive month of positive growth in January,” he said.

Exports of agro-based products declined by 7.6 percent to US$289.1 million dragged by lower revenues from coconut products and fish products.

“We attribute this to the continued tightness in supply due to persistent dry weather. Also, lower export revenues for fish products can be partly traced to the lower supply of fish in Region XII,” said Esguerra, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Outbound sales of mineral products also dropped by 27.8 percent to US$145.3 million, while exports value of petroleum products declined by 17.8 percent to US$10.0 million due to the persistent low oil price environment.

The NEDA chief said that despite recent improvements, market and product concentration remain as challenges in increasing Philippine trade, and that trading with other ASEAN economies is still limited despite recently growing regional integration.

“The government and private sector should take advantage of the opportunities offered by economic groupings, trade agreements and the structural transformation of other economies. We should engage more actively in information gathering and dissemination, market intelligence, and capacity building of our exporters,” said Esguerra.


Exports Jan 2016