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NEWS UPDATES 13 May 2009

Philippine export drops 30.9% in March

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Philippine exports fell by 30.9 percent in March, the government said Tuesday, as shipments of electronic products and garments continued to slump in the face of the global downturn, reported AFP.

The drop marked the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year declines, but was an improvement on the 39 percent decline posted in February, the National Statistics Office said.

It added that shipments were also up 15.9 percent from February.

Exports in March amounted to $2.904 billion, down from $4.2 billion in the same period last year, the National Statistics Office said in a statement.

Total exports in the first three months of 2009 were $7.921 billion, a 36.8 percent decline from the same period in 2008, the office said.

Figures showed electronic products, which make up more than half of Philippine exports, fell 33.9 percent to $1.619 billion in March. However electronic exports in March were up by nearly a fifth on February's figure.

The United States remained the main buyer of Philippine exports, receiving $503.27 million or 17.3 percent of the total in March. Japan was the second highest buyer of Philippine exports, followed by China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and South Korea.

The head of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Sergio Ortiz-Luis said the March figures showed exports were starting to recover after taking a battering in main overseas markets.

"We hit rock bottom in January. While the negative growth is still large, we expect it to decelerate in the coming months until it breaks even or even hits positive territory eventually," he told AFP.

Manny Cruz, an analyst at Asiasec Equities Inc. agreed that the decline in exports would ease but said export growth would not resume soon.

"Export growth break even? Not this year. The impact of the global economic crisis will continue to weigh down the export sector," he said.


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