Trade figures

Total Philippine exports surged to an almost double-digit increase in June this year by 9.49% and gaining USD563.9M.  The growth is attributed to the reopening of the global markets like US, China and EU, as well as the continuing policy to keep the export operations at full capacity despite the lockdowns. 

Meanwhile, imports grew slower at 2.41% over the same period, but still outpaced exports in total value. 

List of the top five international markets for January to June

The US market’s impressive performance towards the middle of the year has resulted in an expected change in the PH’s major markets profile, wrestling the top spot away from China for the first time in over a year. Exports to the US expanded 23.8% in June over the same period last year, while exports to China only managed to grow 14.8%. However, cumulatively, China is still the best performing market, growing 34.4% from January to June this year, to the USA’s 31.45%. The new US administration has been spending liberally to stimulate the economy as it better manages the effects of the pandemic.

Consumer spending is also on the rise, gaining confidence brought about by the increase in mobility and a gradual return to an almost back to pre-pandemic level of economic activity. China’s early recovery though seems to have tapered, and the country is on the same race as most of the rest of the world to stabilize gains.

“We are seeing an increasing shift of economic growth in Asia, and the Philippines is ready to participate in that growth. With the reopening of more economic activities and more aggressive vaccination rollout in the country, our balanced and calibrated approach manifested a continued strong export performance,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

The trade chief added: “We are positive that we will continue to see an upward movement in our export performance, as we allow 100% operating capacity of our exports sector even during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). In our efforts not to disrupt export activities, we expect to maintain the acceleration of our growth rate and continue to provide jobs for our people. There is still room for more growth for PH exports.”

While the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region used to be the top regional bloc for PH exports, the European Union (EU) is noticeably gaining growth at 27.4% from January-June this year. This is the highest among the regional market blocs, and a lot higher than the 19.7% posted by the APEC Bloc for the same period last year.

Electronics are still the top exports, growing 21% from January-June over the same period last year, and still making up the bulk exports of the country at a share of a little more than 60% of the total PH exports to the world. 

Most exports considered as industry inputs are on the rise, reflecting the general uptick in global industrial activity. Exports of machinery and equipment, cathodes of refined copper, metal components, copper concentrates, etc. all have double-digit growth rates over the same half year period.

Other popular exports, mostly agri-based, are on a downward trend like tuna, bananas, pineapples, fresh shrimps and prawns. All have negative cumulative growth rates. However, products like activated carbon, abaca fibers, other processed tropical fruits, and vegetables have exhibited improved performance.

“This is the reason why focusing on new products with promising export potential is a strategy being explored as we craft the new Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) for 2022-2027. There is really a need to diversify our exports away from our traditional products, and the right time to do it is now,” Sec. Lopez said.

He added: “The government is committed to develop more viable programs for MSMEs so that they can be more competitive and better able to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by increasing global demand for both products and services, particularly from South East Asia.”

Date of Release: 6 August 2021