Thursday, 10 April 2008

Exports rise 10.7% in February as US shipments recover

By Enrico dela Cruz
Thomson Financial

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Merchandise exports rose 10.7 percent to $4.12 billion in February from a year earlier as shipments to the United States increased. Economists, however, say the rebound could be a blip, and should weaken in the coming months.

The increase was faster than the 6.0-percent rise in January and the 7.9-percent growth in February 2007.

Electronics exports, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of total receipts, grew 4.7 percent to $2.46 billion after rising 1.6 percent in January, the National Statistics Office said.

Exports to the United States, the biggest market for Philippine products with a share of 17.4 percent to total shipments, increased 10.0 percent to $717.14 million. Manila's exports to the world's largest economy dropped 1.0 percent in January.

"It's quite reassuring that Philippine exports are holding up well," said Frederic Neumann, economist at HSBC in Hong Kong.

"But electronics, which strengthened a bit, remained generally quite weak, reflecting the Philippines' eroding competitiveness."

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