Merchandise exports can continue to grow this year but at a slower pace compared to the recorded 5.6 percent growth last year, an economist said Sunday. Exports will likely grow by 5 percent this year amid risk of recession in the United States, which is the world's largest economy, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort told the Philippine News Agency (PNA). "For the coming months, the recent easing of some global commodity prices amid risk of US economic slowdown would also somewhat be a challenge for exports," he said. Export earnings grew by 5.6 percent last year to USD78.84 billion. As of March this year, total export sales amounted to USD6.53 billion, reflecting a slower decrease at an annual rate of -9.1 percent from the -18.1 percent in the previous month. Ricafort said that in the coming months, the further reopening of the economy could fundamentally lead to some pick up in both imports and exports. But this could be offset by slower economic recovery prospects due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and higher global interest rates amid more aggressive rate hikes that could slow down the global economy and trade, he said. Ricafort, however, said that some disruptions in the global supply chain for various products, such as electronics and other manufactured products largely brought about by the pandemic since 2020, would still lead to higher demand for Philippine exports. "Membership of the country into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is the world's biggest free trade agreement and led by China, would help attract more FDIs (foreign direct investments) to locate in the country as a production or marketing base, as well as an access point to bigger export markets of the other RCEP member countries in the region and in other parts of the world," he added. The government is set to launch next month the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028 in a bid to increase exports. The PEDP will focus on addressing constraints to production, developing a robust and innovative export ecosystem, and increasing the Philippines' share in the global market.
Source: Philippines News Agency