EXPORTS  UP  BY  A  SLOWER  2.3%  TO  $4.224B  IN  MAY

MANILA, JULY 11, 2008
(STAR) By Ted P. Torres - The country’s export earnings grew by only 2.3 percent to $4.224 billion in May, slower compared to a 4.9-percent annual increase in the earlier month, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported yesterday.

The January to May total climbed 3.1 percent to $21.09 billion from $20.452 billion in the same period last year.

Shipments of electronic products, the country’s most important export group, fell 3.4 percent, reflecting soft demand because of a general slowdown in the global economy.

Electronics, largely assembled from imported parts, accounted for 58.6 percent or $2.47 billion of the total export revenue in May.

Copper cathodes were the country’s second largest export in May, growing by 16.2 percent to $155.14 million, the NSO said.

Other top exports include apparel and clothing accessories, woodcrafts and furniture, petroleum products and coconut oil.

Manufactured goods managed to post a 1.5-percent increase in May. Machinery and transport equipment expanded by 36.1 percent while processed food and beverages grew by 47 percent.

Agro-based exports went up by 3.6 percent despite lower volume shipments of coconut products, which were induced partly by lower demand from Europe.

The United States remained the country’s top export destination, with export receipts of $675.59 million, up 2.7 percent from April’s figure.

Japan was the second biggest market, accounting for $665.40 million or 15.8 percent of the total. The amount was up 22.1 percent year-on-year.

Other leading markets include China (502.05 million), Hong Kong ($395.98 million), Korean ($313.31 million), Netherlands ($278.23 million), Singapore ($234.64 million), Germany ($205.34 million), Taiwan ($168.39 million), and Malaysia ($163.62 million).

The government has revised its forecast for export growth in 2008 to five percent from six percent largely due to slower export demand. Growth in 2007 was 6.05 percent.

The main industry body for electronics and semiconductors said exports in the sector in 2008 should rise five percent after 4.5 percent expansion in 2007.

The Philippines supplies about 10 percent of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing services, including mobile phone chips and micro processors. Other key exports include garments and accessories, vehicle parts, coconut oil, tropical fruit and wood furniture.

The central bank said last month it expected the country’s trade deficit this year to expand by a third and reach $11 billion, the highest in at least nine years.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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