October export growth slows, outlook uncertain

Posted at 12/11/12 10:13 AM

MANILA - Philippine exports in October climbed 6.1 percent from a year earlier helped by a low base from last year and rising demand from its Asian neighbors led by Japan, but overall demand for its main electronics shipments remained muted.

Data released on Tuesday by the statistics office showed
exports in the 10 months to October grew 7.1 percent to $44.48 billion.

While growth of electronic exports was not impressive, the value of shipments climbed to a seven-month high, data showed.

Electronics made up 43 percent of October export revenues, with woodcrafts and furniture as the second-biggest export item, comprising 5.4 percent of the total.

Exports to Japan, the country's top export destination in October, were down 12.9 percent from a year earlier. Exports to Hong Kong, the second-biggest market, rose
135.8 percent from a year earlier. Shipments to the United States, the third-biggest market, fell 4.0 percent from a year ago.

Exports to Eastern Asia -- the top export destination by economic bloc, accounting for 55.3 percent of total shipments -- rose 17.2 percent from a year earlier. Southeast Asia and the European Union were the second and third biggest economic blocs.

Jeff Ng, economist at Standard Chartered, Singapore, said "The result was within our expectations, as we anticipated some consolidation following export growth. If we compare the October result with the past two months combined, export growth was a similar 6.3 percent year-on-year for August and September. Hence a slight slowdown in October."

"We are still optimistic for base effects to inflate export
growth for the rest of this year. For 2013, export growth could become more subdued as the global outlook is only gradually improving without a clear upward trend. The Philippines may face some challenges in matching the good growth numbers this year," he added.