MANILA— Merchandise exports grew by 12.4 percent in July 2014, with higher revenues from manufactures and agro-based products, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the value of merchandise exports grew to US$5.5 billion during the period from US$4.9 billion in July 2013. The Philippines posted the second highest exports growth among the major economies in East and Southeast Asia in July 2014, next only to China.

For the first seven months of 2014, exports sales grew by 8.5 percent to US$35.1 billion, higher than US$32.4 billion in the same period last year. Accounting for 81.5 percent of total merchandise exports, revenues from manufactured goods grew by 15.9 percent from US$3.8 billion in July 2013 to US$4.4 billion in July 2014 due to strong overseas sales in almost all sub-groups in manufactured commodities, with electronics products topping the list.

“The favorable performance of the manufactures sector largely reflected the upbeat global manufacturing activity which remains elevated,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

“Our country’s robust exports growth reflects global trend, as we see major economies such as the USA, China and Germany continuously showing signs of bouncing back from economic shocks. This suggests that global demand is picking up pace and that our exports sector is slowly gaining momentum,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Growth in total agro-based exports also registered a strong double-digit feat, as sales receipts totaled US$447.2 million in July 2014, 20.7 percent higher than the US$370.6 million recorded in the same period a year ago. This is largely due to favorable performances from all major sub-groups, in particular, coconut products, fruits and vegetables, other agro-based products, and sugar products.

“The exports outlook for agricultural products is bullish. Further intensifying efforts to implement programs that will help areas that are vulnerable to the adverse impact of a dry spell and coconut scale insect infestation will propel further growth in the sector, especially for coconut-based commodities for which the Philippines is a major exporter,” he added.

The growth in manufacturing and agro-based exports more than offset the lower receipts from mineral, petroleum, and forest products.

“Overall, global trade activity for the initial month of the third quarter projects better prospects for the coming months of the year especially for our electronics, garments, intermediate goods exports, and agriculture-based products,” said Balisacan.

The Cabinet official stressed however the importance of addressing the instability of power supply in the country.

“The expected tightness in the supply of power in the coming months could disrupt industrial production, hurting exports. Additional cost of utilities may also hamper production volumes. This should also be given priority by the government to support the country’s export targets,” he said.

Among selected Asian economies, PR China posted the period’s highest growth at 14.5 percent, followed by the Philippines (12.4%) then Viet Nam (12.2%). Other economies that posted positive exports growth were Taiwan (5.8%), Republic of Korea (5.4%), Malaysia (0.8%), Japan (0.8%) and Singapore (0.4%).

Japan remains as the Philippines’ top export market accounting for 22.2 percent of the country’s total revenues from merchandise exports during the period. USA came second, with a 14.7 percent share, followed by PR China with 12.8 percent.

In terms of regional destination, outward shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-countries comprised 13.8 percent of total exports while the European Union (EU) covered 9.8 percent.