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Exports of agro-based products fell by 29.4 percent, mineral products by 13.6 percent, manufactures by 0.5 percent, forest products by 82.6 percent, and petroleum products by 33.4 percent. However, this is a noticeable easing off since the 15.1-percent decline in March 2016.

wth of exports is expected to remain muted for the rest of 2016 with the slow recovery of the global economy. Given the soft demand, export-oriented firms may need to refocus their strategies to consider non-traditional markets, which have shown healthier appetites in recent months,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

He cited for instance the growth of exports to European countries. Exports to France and Switzerland grew by 37.8 percent and 72.0 percent, respectively, for the first five months. On the other hand, exports to traditional markets such as Germany and the Netherlands declined by 18.8 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.

“It would also be important to increase the flexibility of export firms to cater to the domestic market, given robust domestic demand. We also need to keep government spending on track to ensure that domestic demand continues to provide a cushion to mitigate the impact of the country’s weak exports growth,” said Pernia, who is also NEDA Director-General.

In terms of export markets, Japan (22.1%) remains on top in May 2016 with exports growing by 1.5 percent for the month and averaging 1.3 percent for the first five months.

Meanwhile, among seven selected Asian economies, only Vietnam posted positive export growth of 4.9 percent in May 2016, although lower than the previous month’s 7.5 percent.□

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