MAKATI—Following the double-digit expansion in Philippine (PH) export as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the country also sustained its leading position in terms of Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector at 53.9, the highest among ASEAN Member States.

“The 14% expansion in export was on the back of a robust PMI for manufacturing at 53.9, the highest among ASEAN countries,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, who also serves as chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meetings.

Viet Nam’s PMI is at 52.5, Thailand at 50.4, Singapore at 50.3, Indonesia at 49.5, Myanmar at 49.4 and Malaysia at 46.9.

ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat
Top economic officials from 10 ASEAN Member States met at the Philippine hosting of the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in March 2017. This will be followed by a series of ministerial meetings between ASEAN and trade partner countries in September 2017. 

“The PMI is an indicator of the manufacturing sector’s health, with indices above 50 signaling improvement in business conditions while those below 50 show deterioration,” explained Sec. Lopez.

“This favorable PMI is driven by robust domestic consumption and resurgent exports,” he added.

DTI earlier reported that PH exports withstood a slowdown in external demand in June and finished a strong first semester performance, ensuring that exports are both resilient and diversified in terms of products and markets.

Total merchandise exports for the period January to June 2017 stood at USD 31.04 billion, expanding by 14% over the USD 27.33 billion posted during the same period in 2016.

Said expansion was mainly due to high growth rates of exports to newly revived markets of the People’s Republic of China (including Hongkong SAR), as well as the European Union (EU), which gives the Philippines a Generalized Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+) status, wherein more than 6,000 product lines enjoy duty free entry into the EU market.

Meanwhile, the depreciation of the peso against a backdrop of low inflation rate has also made PH export products more competitive in prices, thus contributing favorably to this surge in exports, according to DTI.

DTI continues to implement programs and projects to sustain robust exports growth. A centerpiece program is the revitalization of the manufacturing industry through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) and, in partnership with the private sector, the crafting of currently 36 industry roadmaps geared to enhance the capacity and productivity of domestic industries to produce high value added commodities for both domestic and export markets.

“We remain committed to easing the cost of doing business in the country. We have been collaborating with other government agencies and the private sector in initiatives that will simplify doing business,” the trade chief said.

DTI’s presence can be felt nationwide through 17 Regional Offices that are ready to assist exporters all over the country, to facilitate a conducive environment for businesses and to ensure provision of technical assistance and the needed shared service facilities.

DTI is also assisting exporters with enhanced market intelligence through its 27 international posts.