exportsdec'13MANILA—The country’s merchandise exports grew by 15.8 percent, indicating a continued upward trend for the 7th consecutive month in December 2013 and making it the top export performer in selected economies in East and Southeast Asia, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippines outshone Vietnam (12.6%), Indonesia (8.5%), Malaysia (7.6%), Korea (7.0%), Singapore (5.6%), China (4.3%) and Thailand (1.9%). It also outperformed other economies in the region which posted negative exports growth such as Taiwan (-1.9%), Hong Kong (-3.0%) and Japan (-6.2%).

“The positive exports performance of the Philippines – and even those of the majority of trade-oriented economies in the East and Southeast Asia – was reflective of the recovery of major economies such as the United States of America (USA), European Union (EU), and Japan,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

Balisacan added that exports continued their upward trend for the 7th consecutive month in December 2013. He attributed this to the robust outward sales of manufactured goods, most notably, electronics. Manufactured goods expanded by 20.8 percent year-on-year. Exports of electronic products significantly grew by 26.1 percent in December 2013 after contracting by 5.1 percent in the same period last year.

The NEDA Director-General noted, however, that lower export receipts from agro-based, petroleum, mineral, and forest products slowed down export performance in December 2013.

For this period, total export receipts from agro-based products contracted by 27.8 percent to US$274.4 million from 19.1 percent to US$379.8 million in the same period last year. The contraction was largely due to the decrease in export of coconut products.

“The lower outward shipments of coconut products in December 2013, which account for about 40.0 percent of the total agro-based exports, was mainly due to the adverse effects of super typhoon Yolanda as 73 percent of total crop area in major coconut producing regions was damaged,” Balisacan explained.

“The combined destructions in plantations and milling facilities tightened the coconut supply and this resulted in large declines in the volume shipments of coconut products such as desiccated coconut, copra meat/cake and coconut oil,” he added.

Despite the setbacks in some commodity groups and other sectors, the country registered a positive growth of 3.6% in merchandise exports for the full year.

Japan remains as the top destination of Philippine exports in December 2013, accounting for 23.0 percent of the country’s total overseas merchandise sales receipts, with a total value of US$1.06 billion. This was higher by 48.1 percent relative to the US$715.3 million worth of Philippine exports to the said country in December 2012.

China was the second largest export market with a 16.2-percent share, majority of which are for EDP, semiconductors, and other manufactures.

USA was the third top destination with 12.4-percent share in total exports, posting a year-on-year growth of 13.5 percent — the fifth consecutive double-digit growth since August 2013.

Other major markets for Philippine exports during the period were Hong Kong (8.8%) and Singapore (7.7%).