Exports fall for 2nd month

Published by rudy Date posted on January 14, 2009

PHILIPPINE exports fell for a second consecutive month in November as the global recession dampened demand for disk drives and mobile-phone chips made by Intel Corp. and other manufacturers.

Overseas sales dropped 11.9 percent to $3.49 billion from a year earlier, the National Statistics Office said yesterday.

The median estimate of eight economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 16.6-percent decline. Exports slumped 14.8 percent in October, the biggest drop in seven years.

Other Asian economies were similarly hurting.

China’s exports fell the most in almost a decade in December as the deepening global recession cut demand for the nation’s toys, clothes and electronics.

Shipments dropped 2.8 percent, the customs bureau said on its Web site. That compares with a 21.7-percent gain a year earlier. Exports grew 17.2 percent for all of 2008, down from 25.7 percent in 2007.

Indonesia’s exports declined 2 percent to $9.61 billion in November, the first monthly drop since March 2004, the Central Statistics Bureau said this week.

Malaysian exports fell 4.9 percent in November from a year ago, their second straight month of decline, which some economists said could pave the way for another interest rate cut.

Thailand’s exports slumped 18 percent in November from a slowing global demand and disrupted shipments.

Philippine stocks and the peso fell on concern the decline in exports will hurt growth in the Philippines, which the government has forecast will expand in 2009 at the slowest pace in eight years.

The global slowdown may also hurt remittances from overseas workers.

“We’re just beginning to feel the downdraft,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB GK Securities in Singapore.

“The contraction will probably continue well into 2009. As demand slumps, we can only guess about the size of the impact” on exports and overseas jobs.

The peso declined a fourth day against the US dollar, losing 0.4 percent to 47.725 as of 9:25 a.m. in Manila, according to Tullett Prebon Plc.

Philippine merchandise exports may fall as much as 3 percent in 2009 and electronics shipments may contract 10 percent, a newspaper cited the Export Development Council as saying last week.

Electronics exports fell 17.0 percent to $2.017 billion in November from $2.429 billion a year ago.

Garment shipments plunged 15.8 percent to $133.26 million. Top agricultural exports such as coconut oil and fresh bananas slipped 27.7 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively.

The electronics sector accounted for more than half of the country’s exports, but the global slowdown has forced companies such as Texas Instruments to cut their work force.

Texas Instruments has retrenched 392 employees in its Baguio plant, although it is set to open another facility in Clark, Pampanga.

President Arroyo planned to accelerate spending of this year’s infrastructure budget in the first half to limit the effects of the global slump, Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said Jan. 7.

The central bank cut its key interest rate for the first time in 11 months in December to spur growth, and Gov. Amando Tetangco said last week slowing inflation gave policy makers “additional room to find opportunities for monetary easing this year.”

Shipments of electronics products fell 17 percent to $2.02 billion in November. Worldwide semiconductor sales fell 9.8 percent that month from a year earlier, according to the San Jose, California-based Semiconductor Industry Association. –Bloomberg with Roderick T. dela Cruz

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