UPDATE 1-Philippine tech exports seen flat this year, but pick up in 2013

Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:33am EST

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* Philippine electronics exports to post no growth in 2012

* Electronics exports growth in 2013 seen at 5-6 pct (Adds quotes, background)

MANILA Dec 11 (Reuters) - Philippine electronics exports will likely post no growth this year due to sluggish global demand, but a recovery is expected in 2013 as the sector realises gains from investments made this year, an electronics industry group said on Tuesday.

The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI) forecast electronics exports this year will only match the value of 2011's performance, and not post growth of 5 percent to 7 percent as previously thought.

But the sector will likely perform better next year as the industry group projects 5 percent to 6 percent growth for electronics and semiconductor exports, which make up about half of the Philippines' total shipments.

In 2011, the country shipped nearly $24 billion worth of electronics and semiconductor goods, down nearly 24 percent from the previous year's $31.1 billion.

Total electronics exports in the 10 months to October totalled 19.32 billion pesos, down 6.6 percent from a year earlier.

"The heightened global uncertainty, a depressed export market, weak consumer electronics demand, and a generally poor global economic climate, and high cost of power and strong peso brought the industry to a flat growth for 2012," Ernesto Santiago, president of SEIPI, said in a statement.

Santiago said the more optimistic outlook for 2013 can be attributed to new plant facility transfers of some electronics companies in the Philippines and investments made during the year which will be mostly operational by next year.

SEIPI, which encompasses more than 200 semiconductors and electronics manufacturers including units of Samsung Electronics and Texas Instruments, initially forecast 10 percent to 15 percent growth in 2012, which it later lowered to 5 percent to 7 percent.

The Philippines, which imports electronic parts and inputs for assembly for export later, provides about 10 percent of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including for mobile phone chips and micro processors.

Manila, which is targeting growth of 5 percent to 6 percent this year and 6 percent to 7 percent next year, is optimistic that any slowdown in exports would be offset by strong domestic consumption and higher state spending on infrastructure.

The Philippine central bank lowered its exports and imports growth forecast for the year to 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from previous estimates of 10 percent and 12 percent. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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