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UPDATE 1-Philippines' export growth at over 3-year high in Feb
April 10, 2014 / 3:55 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Philippines' export growth at over 3-year high in Feb

* Electronics exports up 26.6 pct y/y, highest since Oct
2010
    * Net exports seen dampened by higher imports

 (Adds analysts' comments)
    By Rosemarie Francisco
    MANILA, April 10 (Reuters) - Philippine exports rose at
their fastest pace in more than three years in February,
government data showed on Thursday, driven by robust shipments
of electronics and a rising contribution from industrial
manufacturing.
    Total exports in February jumped 24.4 percent from a year
earlier, the biggest gain since December 2010, the statistics
agency said. Electronics exports jumped 26.6 percent
year-on-year, their fastest growth since October 2010.
    February also marked the third straight month in which
exports from the electronics/semiconductors category - which
makes up at least two-fifths of total exports - recorded growth
of more than 20 percent growth.
    Still, net exports are unlikely to power overall growth this
year because of a higher import bill, with imports of rice and
construction materials for rebuilding after last year's super
typhoon seen keeping the trade account in deficit.
    "Exports were not only helped by a low base, goods are also
seeing demand overseas, especially in the euro zone and in
Japan. Exports will continue to be positive but not as strong as
the first two months," said Trinh Nguyen, an economist at HSBC
in Hong Kong.
    "Net exports will not contribute much to growth, because
imports are also higher due to reconstruction and rehabilitation
from Haiyan, and government rice imports," she said.
    Imports rose 21.8 percent year-on-year in January, the
biggest increase in almost three years. Import data for February
will be released later this month. 
    The central bank sees both exports and imports rising 6
percent this year, according to its latest estimates.
    The Philippines expects its economy to grow 6.5 to 7.5
percent this year after expanding 7.2 percent in 2013, the
fastest in the region after China.
    In a breakdown of the electronics/semiconductors category,
exports of electronic data processing goods posted annual growth
of 312 percent, while communications and radar jumped 84 percent
in February. But exports of semiconductors, the country's top
export product, fell 0.5 percent.
    The Southeast Asian nation provides about 10 percent of the
world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including for
mobile phone chips and micro processors.
    Other products contributed to overall exports in February,
with exports of woodcrafts and furniture rising 56 percent from
a year earlier, machinery and transport equipment up 92 percent
and chemicals up 66 percent.
    "There is a clear rebound in Philippine exports and it has
been clear that there is a strengthening trend since about mid
last year," said Vaninder Singh, economist for Southeast Asia at
RBS Markets & International Banking in Singapore, adding that
growth was largely due to better electronics exports and the
emergence of new industries like chemicals.
    "In essence, the manufacturing base in the Philippines is
getting stronger," he said.
    
   LINKS:
Philippine Statistics Authority website www.psa.gov.ph

 (Additional reporting by Siegfrid Alegado and Erik dela Cruz)

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