Philippine February exports post steepest drop in 14 mths
* Exports in February at $3.74 bln vs yr-ago $4.43 bln * Electronics shipments down 36.5 pct in Feb from yr ago * Jan-Feb exports down 9.4 pct to $7.75 bln vs yr-ago $8.55 bln MANILA, April 10 (Reuters) - The Philippines' statistics office on Wednesday released data on February exports: KEY DATA: Total exports Feb Jan Dec Nov Oct Sept yr/yr change (pct) -15.6 -2.7 16.5 5.5 6.1 22.8 in $ bln 3.74 4.01 3.97 3.55 4.41 4.78 Electronics exports yr/yr growth (pct) -36.5 -31.9 -5.5 13.3 0.3 1.0 in $ bln 1.48 1.47 1.51 1.73 1.90 1.83 KEY POINTS: - The electronics industry group expects exports of the sector, which comprise about half of the country's total, will climb 5 to 6 percent this year after contracting 5.2 percent in 2012. - The Southeast Asian nation provides about 10 percent of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including for mobile phone chips and micro processors. - The Philippine economy likely grew between 6 to 7 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, according to Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, matching the government's target for the year, on the back of strong domestic demand and higher government spending. - The Philippine central bank is widely expected to keep its overnight borrowing rate steady at a record low of 3.5 percent when it meets on April 25 after inflation eased for the first time in four months in March. - The central bank has said it plans to release more regulations as early as this month aimed at relaxing foreign exchange rules to allow for more outflows to dampen a strong peso that is hurting exports and families dependent on remittances from Filipinos working abroad. - Other top Philippine exports in January include chemicals, woodcrafts, and metal components. LINK: National Statistics Office website www.census.gov.ph (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Rosemarie Francisco)
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