Philippine exports at USD19.4 Billion in the first quarter of 2022, highest in 6 years

Philippine exports hits the highest quarterly record in the last six years at USD19.4B in the first quarter of 2022, increasing by 9.8% as compared to the same period last year based on the preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). From 2017 to 2020, first quarter export levels hovered around USD16B. This record was breached in 2021 when the country’s first quarter exports grew by 8.4% and surpassed the USD17-B mark. In March 2022 alone, the country’s monthly exports reached USD7.2B or 5.9% higher compared to March 2021 value. This shows that the Philippines continues to sustain export growth on a much better position than pre-pandemic levels, and has been able to catch up as global trade expands.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expects that “the Philippine economy will continue to rebound and grow in the coming months. Of course, this will just depend on how bad the world economies will be affected by the prolonged war in Ukraine.”

“The rate of Philippine export recovery in terms of both our key export products and markets brings greater optimism for a stronger Philippine economy. The only uncertainty is the possible global slowdown towards the second half of the year”, he said.

21 out of 48 Philippine export commodity groups drive the resurgence of the country’s export sector, registering consistent increases in export sales as compared to three time periods: 2021, 2020, and pre-pandemic average over 2017-2019. This growth was propelled by exports in electronics, other mineral products, copper cathodes & sections of cathodes, coconut oil, and processed food and beverages.

Ten other export commodity groups also recorded an increase in export sales this quarter. However, export performance has been inconsistent when compared to pre-pandemic and 2020 export levels. This includes, among others, fresh bananas, pineapples and pineapple products, mangoes, and articles of apparel and clothing accessories.

In March, agro-based exports recorded a 32.6% growth compared to the same period last year, which is mainly attributed to increased export sales of coconut products (63.3%) and other fruits and vegetables including bananas and mangoes (14.1%).

For manufactured goods, growth for the month was driven by exports of electronic products (i.e. semiconductors, telecommunication, communication/radar, and control and instrumentation products). Double-digit export growth rates were also recorded in garments (23.2%), textile yarns/fabric (27.7%), and travel goods and handbags (41.2%).

According to S&P Global, Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures manufacturing output, the Philippines’ PMI increased to 53.2 in March from 52.8 in February. The country’s manufacturing sector continues to benefit from increased demand brought about by economic reopening and relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Output and new orders continue to grow, with the former expanding at the joint-fastest pace since July 2019.

“The continuous growth of our manufacturing sector, as well as the Philippine economy’s growth trajectory in general, was propelled by continued economic reopening. The full reopening of more sectors, the de-escalation of all areas to Alert Levels 1 and 2, and the intensified vaccination efforts drove increased mobility throughout the country, thus further increasing demand. This only shows that the Duterte administration’s policies in balancing lives and livelihood have been successful in terms of helping our country recover towards a post-pandemic future,” Secretary Lopez added.

In terms of markets, while China was considered as the Philippines’ top export destination for the month of March, the United States ranks first as the country’s largest export market in the first quarter of 2022. Completing the country’s top five markets for the said quarter are Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Philippine exports to Singapore breached the USD1B mark, with exports reaching USD1.2B.

Philippine exports also recorded positive growth in nearly all of its top 10 markets, except in Germany where exports declined this month and for the first quarter of the year as compared to the same period last year.

Furthermore, double-digit export growth rates, based on year-on-year and year-to-date values, were observed in the following top Philippine export markets: Malaysia, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, France, and Australia.

For inquiries regarding exports, please send an email to DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) at exports@dti.gov.ph or you may visit tradelinephilippines.dti.gov.ph.

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