MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the country’s merchandise exports sustained its growth in September this year, following a report from the National Statistics Office (NSO) that the sector expanded by 4.9 percent to US$5.0 billion from US$4.8 billion in September 2012. 

“The increase in overseas shipments of mineral products, coconut products, garments and electronic products helped sustain the country’s exports growth. The growth in exports of mineral products, in particular, more than offset the decline in shipments of manufactures, petroleum products, total agro-based products and forest products,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

Coming from a contraction of 4.6 percent in September last year, the receipts from mineral products significantly increased to 65.3 percent in the same period this year. These products, such as copper metal (36.3%), copper concentrates (75.1%), gold (322.6%), and iron ore agglomerates (214.3%) compensated for the lower value of outward shipments of manufactures (-4.3%), petroleum products (-41.4%), total agro-based products (-6.5%) and forest products (-43.9%). 

Agro-based coconut products (13.7%), particularly desiccated coconut (22.8%) and copra meal/cake (78.3%), also supported exports growth, together with garments (12.1%) and electronic products 12.8%). 

The earnings from electronics recovered from a 0.4 percent contraction in August 2013 and increased by 12.8% year-on-year in September 2013. This was attributed to increased overseas sales of EDP (165.6%), control and instrumentation (27.7%), office equipment (11.9%), and communication radar (10.3%). This countered the year-on-year contractions posted by semiconductors (-3.9%), automotive electronics (-94.7%), telecommunications (-43.8%), consumer electronics (-15.9%) and medical/industrial instrumentation (-7.8%). 

“The increase in export earnings of EDP was buoyed largely by business purchases of personal computers in the third quarter of 2013 while the decline in exports of semiconductors was possibly due to the less buoyant market in Japan, which recorded a 12.9-percent decline in domestic sales in September 2013,” the NEDA Director General said, adding that during the period, the country’s exports of semiconductor to Japan fell by 3.9 percent relative to the previous year. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines trailed behind Vietnam and Singapore in terms of growth in the value of exports. Vietnam led the export growth with 18.8 percent while Singapore placed second with 6.5%. 

“The country posted a positive export performance amid the sluggishness of the sector in some of its neighboring countries like Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. This is notwithstanding the fact that we trailed behind Vietnam and Singapore,” Balisacan said. 

Japan recorded the deepest decline of 12.2 percent in the total value of exports due to the depreciation of the Yen against the US dollar as the total value of Japan’s exports valued in Yen increased by 11.5 percent. 

The exports performance of Thailand (-7.1%), Taiwan (-7.0%), Indonesia (-6.8%), Korea (-1.6%), China (-0.3%), Malaysia (0.1%) and Hong Kong (3.4%) also lagged behind the Philippines. 

Japan remained as the top destination of Philippine exports in September 2013, accounting for 22.4 percent of the country’s total export receipts. The United States of America (USA) was the second largest export destination, with 15.0-percent share. 

Other major markets for Philippine exports during the period were China (13.0%), Hong Kong (10.1%) and Singapore (6.9%).