Exports up nearly 16 pct in Dec as electronics sales surge

Posted at 02/11/2014 11:46 AM | Updated as of 02/11/2014 5:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine exports jumped nearly 16% in December, as electronics exports surged.

Data from the National Statistics Office showed exports in December rose 15.8% to $4.6 billion, from $3.97 billion in the same month in 2012.

Exports grew 3.6% to $53.98 billion for the full year 2013.

Electronics shipments went up 26.1% to $1.9 billion from a year ago. Electronics and semiconductors made up 41.4% of the Philippines' total exports in December, with the 26.1% jump in the month the highest since the 38.2% rise in October 2010.

The electronics industry group forecast the country's electronic exports could grow 5% this year.

The Southeast Asian nation provides about 10% of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including for mobile phone chips and micro processors.

Based on the central bank's latest estimates, Philippine exports are expected to rise 6% this year.

The central bank also estimates imports to grow 6 percent from a forecast 2 percent increase last year, resulting in a higher trade deficit for 2014, according to the central bank.

December imports data will be released later this month.

The economy grew nearly twice as fast as expected in the last three months of 2013 from the third quarter despite a devastating typhoon, suggesting growth will remain robust this year and buffer the country from further turmoil in global emerging markets.

The Philippine central bank left its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday, as expected, contending inflation was manageable but analysts said chances of a hike were rising due to pressures on food and utility prices and a weak peso.

Manila is targeting 6.5 to 7.5% GDP growth in 2014. - With Reuters