THE drop in the Philippines’ exports in February should not be a cause for concern, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Arsenio Balisacan said, with the setback not dampening his outlook for a 6% to 7% growth in the first quarter of the year.
Balisacan, talking to media on the sidelines of the Development Financing Seminar last week, said the decline in exports was temporary and would not affect the economy’s performance, especially since “other indicators are quite favorable”.
Philippine merchandise exports in February dropped 15.6% from the previous year, the steepest fall in 14 months, as shipments of electronic products sank 35.6%.
Exports in February reached $3.74 billion, sharply lower from $4.43 billion in the same month last year.
The February record pulled down cumulative export revenues for the first two months of the year to $7.75 billion, down 9.4% from $8.55 billion in the comparable two months last year.
The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee has set an exports growth target of 12% for the full-year.
“We periodically visit our targets, including our export target, but if there’s a need to adjust (we will do so),” Balisacan said.
The NEDA chief said the government is actually developing a roadmap for the country’s major commodities, which will allow exports of other commodities to also improve, and reduce dependence on electronic products.
“There’s been a lot of diversification. Five years or seven years ago, electronic products comprise about 70 percent of exports. Now it is less than 50 percent, and it will continue to decrease as other sources of exports will grow faster,” he added.
For instance, there is “so much potential” for agro-processed exports, Balisacan said. “That will allow us to get more aggressive in the exports side,” he added.
The government expects exports growth to help the Philippine economy to grow between 6 to 7% for the full year.
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