March exports improve by 2.1 percent

MANILA, Philippines After three consecutive months of decline since December 2014, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported that Philippine merchandise exports recovered by 2.1 percent in March 2015.

Based on the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total revenue from the Philippine exports reached $5.4 billion in March from S$5.3 billion in the same period last year.

NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said that the growth of exports was maintained due to increased sales in manufacture and mineral products. It countered the decline in total agro-based and petroleum products.

“Considering that exports have been declining since December 2014, the performance of the country’s exports for March 2015 is a welcome development as exports are starting to revert back to positive territory,” said Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary.

“Moving forward, growth in exports will likely be driven by favorable economic environment in the United States, and in part supported by cheap oil prices and accommodative monetary policy in the European Union,” added the Cabinet official.

Reports indicate that the overseas sales of manufactured goods went up to 2.8 percent in March 2015. These sales cover 84.4 percent of total exports mainly supported by raised revenues from electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, and garments.

The exports of mineral products likewise rose from $277.5 million in March 2014 to$335.2 million in 2015. It increased year-on-year by 20.8 percent due to higher earnings from the exports of copper, metal, gold and other in demand mineral products.

Even if the exports recovered in March 2015, Balisacan reminded that there is a need to actively continue efforts of enhancing the capacity of various industries to be resilient against calamities and extreme weather conditions.

Balisacan cited the initiatives to strengthen capacity of various industries to be ready for calamities and disasters which include Climate Smart Agriculture for the agriculture sector, the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, and the establishment of agro-meteorological stations in highly vulnerable areas, among others.

“Over the the near-term, production disruptions from unpredictable weather patterns remain one of the the biggest risks in attaining the country’s export targets, particularly in the agro-based products,” said Balisacan.

Among the selected economies in the East and Southeast Asian region, only the Philippines and Vietnam recorded positive growth in March while the remaining countries posted negative export production.

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