ECONOMIC  CHIEF  CONFIDENT  GOVT  WILL  HIT  2005  EXPORTS  TARGET

MANILA
, March 10, 2005
 (STAR) With the strong exports growth of 15.4 percent in January, the government is confident that the full year (2005) exports growth of 10.0 percent will be reached, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri said Thursday.

The statement was made following a report by the National Statistics Office (NSO) that exports of goods jumped 15.4 percent in January to 3.28 billion US dollars after a poor growth of 2.9 percent in December.

Last year, exports settled at 9.3 percent, slightly below the 10.0 percent target.

In a memorandum to President Gloria Arroyo, Neri stated that the strong performance of the exports sector for the month may be attributed to the surge in manufactures, posting a 20.5 percent, and lifted by the top three earners: semiconductors (25.7 percent), garments (34.4 percent), and machinery and transport equipment (45.7 percent).

Consumer electronics and office equipment also grew 7.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, to push the whole electronics group to a 12.8 percent growth.

"The growth in semiconductors is in line with the growth of sales worldwide, which according to the United States Semiconductor Industry Alliance, reached 17.5 percent year-on-year in January," said Neri.

Garments, meanwhile, benefited from a recent hike in orders coming from multinational brands such as Gap, Anne Taylor, and Li and Fung.

Other manufactured products lent support, such as chemicals (22.8 percent), processed food and beverages (36.0 percent), and furniture and fixtures (68.8 percent).

Mineral exports posted a modest growth of 5.0 percent despite a 16.6 percent plunge in copper metal.

However, agro-based exports slumped 12.0 percent, as exports of several key products dropped: coconut oil (-10.4 percent), fruits and vegetables (2.7 percent), and fresh fish and shrimps and prawns (-0.4 percent).

Neri also noted that Japan led the top export markets, increasing by 37.1 percent and capturing the biggest share of Philippine exports (20.9 percent).

Other markets that showed robust growth are the US (29.3 percent), the Netherlands (19.8 percent), and China (75.2 percent).


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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