RP electronics exports seen soft in 2008

Posted at 07/18/08 7:29 PM

Exports of Philippine electronics goods, the main driver of the country's overall exports, are likely to be steady or at best register a tepid 3 percent growth in 2008, an industry official said on Friday.

In the first five months of 2008, electronics exports fell 3.8 percent over the 2007 period, mainly due to the slowdown in the industrialized economies.

"The first half was a terrible showing for the industry," Arthur Young, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc, told Reuters.

"What is challenging is the second half. We are seeing some increases in the market and the challenge is how that trend translates into growth for the year."

There should be some growth in the third quarter as makers of LCD televisions, computers and mobile phones build up inventories for the Christmas period, but the earlier losses will be a drag on the full-year figure, he said.

"At the beginning of the year we guided the industry with growth of 0-5 percent," Young said. "We recently narrowed that band to 0-3 percent."

The weakening of the peso, which has dropped some 9 percent against the dollar this year, was positive for the export industry, especially because of the currency's 19 percent gain in 2007, he added.

Electronics, largely assembled from imported parts, make up about 55-60 percent of all Philippine exports. The Southeast Asian country covers about 10 percent of the world's semiconductor demand.

Last year, electronics exports grew 4.5 percent as overall merchandise exports climbed 6.1 percent. The government has targeted an overall export growth of 5.0 percent this year.