Thursday, 11 March 2010

Exports surge 43% to $3.58 billion in January

Manila Bulletin

The country’s exports surged in January, sustaining the double-digit rise that started in December, on a strong recovery in electronics shipments.

The National Statistics Office said Wednesday that exports in January rose 43 percent from the year-earlier to $3.58 billion, and expanded by 8.0 percent from the $3.31 billion in December.

In January last year, exports plunged 41 percent on year to $2.49 billion. Electronics products, the country's main export item, rose 51 percent from a year earlier to $2.03 billion in January, accounting for 57 percent of total exports for the month.

Other exports that showed strong year-on-year gains were coconut oil, ignition wiring sets for vehicles and aircraft, petroleum products and metal components.

The export recovery bodes well for the wider economy, possibly countervailing the risk posed by the El Niño-induced drought to the expected strong rebound this year. The government has warned that farm output, which accounts for a fifth of the country's gross domestic product, may contract in the first quarter due to the drought.

"What it (export recovery) does is help offset the negative impact the El Nino on the economy," said Luz Lorenzo, economist and market strategist at ATR-Kim Eng Securities. "We can have respectable (economic) growth despite the drought because of export recovery."

Japan was the main export market for the Philippines in January, accounting for $579.9 million of total sales for the month, up 50 percent from the $387.0 million total a year earlier.

The US was the next biggest market in January, with total exports at $574.9 million, up 26 percent from $456.9 million in the same period last year. Germany, China and Singapore, which complete the top five export markets for the Philippines in January, all recorded strong growth from the year-earlier period.

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