Philippine merchandise exports for June 2020 shows a gradual recovery of trade amid the Covid-19 pandemic. According to preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), June 2020 exports decreased only by 13.3% to USD5.3B from USD6.1B in the same month last year. This is a marked improvement from the 35.6% decline recorded in May 2020. 

“Several countries have revised their global outlook and the Philippines has followed suit with Development Budget Coordination Committee’s (DBCC) lowering its forecasts for the year. A sustained deceleration would most likely lead to a single-digit annual contraction,” said DTI Undersecretary for Trade Promotions Abdulgani Macatoman.

“We are working to resume trade with many country partners to improve exports for the rest of the year. Thus, we again call for both national and local governments to ensure the unhampered flow of goods, especially now that NCR and nearby provinces are under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ),” added Macatoman.

Consistent with the long-standing structure of merchandise exports, electronics accounted for over half of the country’s total merchandise exports (56.6%) in the review period, while non-electronics made up the remaining 43.4%.

Electronics exports went down by 14.9% in the first six months of the year to USD18.9B from USD16.1B in the same period in 2019. In terms of the difference in export value, only two sectors in the electronics industry posted positive growth rates: control and instrumentation; and automotive electronics.

The Top 5 electronics exports in terms of value continued to contribute over 96% share in the total year-to-date (YTD) industry value and over 50% in the total PH exports value. Consistently the top PH merchandise and electronics exports, semiconductors, still get the lion share of electronics exports at 77.8%, and 42.7% of total PH merchandise exports. However, its total exports went down by 10% to USD12.6B in January to June 2020 from USD13.9B in the same period in 2019.

Non-Electronics’ export sales declined by 21.3% to USD12.3B YTD from USD15.7B in the same period last year. The top performers in the current review period in terms of the difference in value were: petroleum products, USD73.5M; and textile yarns/fabrics (including surgical masks), USD47.2M.

Exports to the top 10 PH markets registered a negative 11.4% year-on-year (YOY) growth this month compared to the same period in 2019. Once again, this was a welcome improvement from the 32.9% decline posted in the previous month, indicating that some of these markets have taken in more imports from the Philippines compared to the first five months.

In terms of percent share, almost 60% of the total exports in the top 10 PH markets went to the perennial three economies only, namely, combined markets of China and Hong Kong (28.8%), Japan (16.1%), and US (14.1%).

Although extreme efforts towards mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic to overall trade can be seen globally, the effect of the pandemic in the economy could persist for much longer as only 5 countries have recorded positive growth among 11 trade-oriented Asian Economies, and the rest of the countries suffered declines in terms of YOY export performance. DTI-Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada said that the Philippines is adapting to the new normal of exports through online business matching sessions. The DTI-EMB is scheduled to have online business matching sessions with buyers from Latin America and the United States in August. ♦

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Date of Release: 6 August 2020