PH 2023 exports top $100B, up 4.8%

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PH 2023 exports top $100B, up 4.8%
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  • The country’s exports of goods and services breached the US$100 billion mark in 2023
  • Exports reached $103.6 billion last year, up 4.8% year-on-year due to the strong performance of the services as well as information technology and business process management sectors and a turnaround in tourism revenues
  • Services exports emerged as a powerhouse, with the sector experiencing a significant expansion of 17.4%, driving much of the overall export growth

The country’s exports of goods and services breached the $100 billion mark in 2023, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Exports reached $103.6 billion last year, a 4.8% year-on-year increase driven by the strong performance of the services as well as the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sectors and a turnaround in tourism revenues, according to DTI-Export Marketing Bureau director Bianca Sykimte.

For merchandise exports, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed a 7.6% decline to $73.52 billion from $79.57 billion in 2022.

Electronics exports—the country’s top export commodity—declined by 3.4% or $955 million in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data. DTI said this decline highlights the importance of diversifying export portfolios and enhancing competitiveness in key sectors.

Other factors contributing to the decline in merchandise exports were coconut products, other agro-based items, mineral products, and petroleum products. Conversely, fruits and vegetables experienced an increase in demand.

Travel services more than doubled its level from the previous year, reaching $9.1 billion in 2023. The Philippines welcomed more than five million international visitors, 91.8% of whom were foreigners, while the rest were overseas-based Filipinos.

Philippine services exports emerged as a powerhouse, with the sector experiencing a significant expansion of 17.4%, driving much of the overall export growth. Travel services contributed nearly 70% of the incremental services export receipts in 2023, followed by other business services. Growth was also driven by sectors including telecommunications, computer and information services, and transport services.

Services exports continue to be a significant contributor to economic growth, recording some of the strongest growth and increasing its share of gross domestic product (GDP) from 12% in 2022 to 13% in 2023.

However, the overall contribution of exports to economic growth was dampened by weak external demand in the goods sector. In 2023, total exports accounted for 27% of the country’s GDP.

DTI said it has been actively pursuing initiatives to capitalize on the strength of the services sector and address challenges in merchandise exports. These efforts include expanding the services industry’s reach by entering new markets and strengthening existing ones, as outlined in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028.

Regarding export markets, based on PSA data, the US remained the top destination for Philippine merchandise exports, accounting for $11.5 billion or 15.7% of the Philippines’ total merchandise exports. Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore followed as top export markets.

Notably, exports to India increased by nearly 53% in 2023.

Among the varied performance of merchandise exports, the DTI has intensified efforts to address key issues affecting export competitiveness, including value-added tax (VAT)-related concerns, and green laning of Philippine exports. Additionally, DTI has conducted numerous “Usapang Exports” or Export Talks sessions nationwide to inform businesses about market opportunities and regulatory updates.

DTI is also leveraging technology and digital services to enhance export capabilities. This includes the launch of a free e curriculum for Philippine exporters and the implementation of the Origin Management System for the Promotion of Free Trade Agreements in the Philippines project.

“The path to global excellence and export growth requires shared ambition, where the government and the private sector must intensify and sustain collaborations,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said.

While acknowledging the challenges posed by the dynamic global market, the DTI said it continues to work collaboratively with Philippine exporters and other relevant stakeholders.

READ: PH trade deficit narrows 24% in Jan as exports recover