September exports jump at nearly 2-year high

Posted at 11/13/12 11:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine exports climbed in September driven by a rebound in electronics after five straight months of contraction, but economists said the outlook remains clouded by faltering global demand, strengthening the case for another rate cut.

Outbound shipments amounted to $4.78 billion in September from $3.9 billion a year ago, data released by the National Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

Electronics made up 38.3 percent of September export revenues, with woodcrafts and furniture as the second biggest export item, comprising 5.8 percent of total.

Exports to Japan, the country's top export destination in September, rose 115 percent from a year earlier, while exports to the United States, the second-biggest market, went up 16.2 percent.

Emilio Neri, economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said "The export numbers are coming out not as bad as originally perceived, and should translate to better-than-expected third quarter output for the economy."

"We still think exports are still going to exhibit some degree of weakness. The 22 percent (growth) will probably not be sustainable for the fourth quarter, and measures to ensure the strength of the sector moving forward should be put in place," he added.

"We have not really returned to 2007 production levels yet, so we should at least aim to get back to those levels. More support should probably be given to the sector to bring it back to those levels, which is why we think it is still possible for the monetary authority to cut on December 13," Neri further said.

In the nine months to September, exports grew 7.2 percent to $40.1 billion. -- With report from Reuters