The Manila Times (April 23, 2018)
Despite a slowdown in February, the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) expects the country’s exports to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent annually.
According to Philexport President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., his group is confident that a downturn will not last and predicts a recovery on the back of global growth.
His statement came after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that merchandise export earnings decreased by 1.8 percent to $4.66 billion in February from $4.74 billion a year ago.
The drop—the first since November 2016—was caused by lower receipts from total agro-based products, manufactures, and petroleum items.
“The weaker February performance could very well then be just the market reacting to tentative signals and certain policy pronouncements here and in major markets abroad,” Luis said.
The country is yet to see if trade tensions between the United States and China have actual adverse effects, he added, although he noted that the electronics sector had expressed concern about their possible impact.
“This development may cast doubts on the possibility of a 5-percent export growth this year, although we feel that there can be a correction in the second quarter,” Luis said.
Philexport remains confident that the country’s exports will reach at least $122 billion in the medium or until 2022, representing an annual growth average of 8 percent to 10 percent.
He cited as basis for the figure efforts to push export drivers, including electronics, processed food and beverages, and services sectors, particularly information technology-business process management (IT-BPM).
The predicted strong growth can be attributed to benefits from preferential schemes, like the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which covers about 18 percent, or about $1.5 billion worth of Philippine exports, in 2017, Luis said.
Source: The Manila Times