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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                      11  August 2011

Philippine export sales contract

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Sales abroad of Philippine-made goods in June contracted at their fastest pace in nearly two years, mostly because of a sharp decline in electronics shipment and weak demand from the US.

Data from the National Statistics Office showed that exports earnings in June contracted by 10.2 percent to $4.09 billion from last year's US$4.55 billion.

The June figure was the weakest since September 2009 when exports fell 18.3 percent.

In the first six months of 2011, export earnings grew by 4.1 percent to $24.721 billion from last year's $23.741 billion. The first-half growth was less than half the 13 percent target for the whole year.

Electronics, which accounted for 54 percent of the total, fell by 23.9 percent to $2.21 billion in June from $2.905 billion last year.

On a monthly basis, electronic products expanded by 17.2 percent from May.

Exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories amounted to $160.20 million, while shipments of woodcrafts and furniture raked in $149.48 million.

Benjamin Diokno, former budget secretary during the Estrada administration, said the probability of hitting the export target this year is practically "nill."

"The January to June numbers happened before the US credit downgrade and the emerging consensus that the world economy is one of a slide once more. The weaker world economy means lower demand for exports. This is compounded by the appreciation of the Philippine peso," Diokno said.

He said that the 'best scenario' for the electronics sector was zero growth.

"But that is quite a tall order since, during the first half of the year, exports of electronic products contracted by 10.82. In a slowing world economy characterized by rising uncertainty, it is hard to imagine a major recovery in the second half of the year," Diokno, who teaches economics at the University of the Philippines, said.

He said the decline in exports to the US in June is "bad news."

"With a slowing economy, it will import less," he said.

"With the recent numbers and the new world developments [debt fiasco and austerity measures in the Euro countries, recessionary Japan, slowing American economy, slowing China, overall gloom and doom in the world economy], the Philippines will be hard pressed to achieve even a 5-percent exports growth this year," he added.

Philippine shipments to US fell 23.1 percent to $572.28 million in June, from $744.59 million a year earlier.

Hong Kong also bought 30.3-percent less year-on-year, with purchases falling to $283.32 million from $406.31 million in 2010.

Japan remained the Philippines' top market, with purchases of $932.24 million, or 41.1 percent higher than the $660.65 million a year ago.

Other top 10 markets for June were People's Republic of China, which bought $481.73-million worth of Philippine goods; Singapore, $391.90 million; Republic of Korea, $187.80 million; Taiwan, $171.68 million; Thailand, $149.87 million; Germany, $145.10 million; and the Netherlands, $98.73 million.

Receipts from the country's top 10 markets amounted to $3.415 billion, or 83.4 percent of the total.

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