Exports seen to post flat growth

Published by rudy Date posted on February 5, 2009

Philippine exports could still be spared from contraction this year and manage a flat growth if companies tap other markets, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said yesterday.

“I still think that flat growth (for exports) is possible in 2009 instead of contraction,” Recto told reporters.

The global financial turmoil that started mainly in the United States, has reverberated across American shores and affected primarily the country’s export sector.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee, the interagency group that sets the country’s macroeconomic assumptions, is looking at a one percent to three percent growth this year for exports.

For 2008, the government has revised its growth target to two to four percent from five percent, slower than 2007’s six- percent rise. The National Statistics Office has yet to report the 2008 export figures.

Recto said that for the export sector to avoid a contraction, export firms must be able to put in place measures that would support growth.

These steps include diversifying products, tapping other markets other than the United States and reducing costs. Recto said there are other markets for Philippine products such as other Asian countries.

He also said that exports would start to recover after April when the different export markets start placing their orders.

Companies usually start placing their orders in April or after the first quarter of every year.

Philippine exports fell 11.9 percent in November after falling a revised 14.8 percent in October, latest government data showed.

The statistics office reported that shipments of electronics products, the country’s main export, contracted 17 percent in November from the year ago period after falling 18.9 percent year-on-year in October.

With the November decline, total exports in the first 11 months of 2008 grew just 0.76 percent over the 2007 period.

Besides electronics, which are largely assembled from imported parts, other key Philippine exports include garments and accessories, vehicle parts, coconut oil, tropical fruit and wood furniture.–Iris C. Gonzales, Philippine Star

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