The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported that total exports of goods and services grew by 4.1% year-on-year (yoy) to USD 44.2 billion in the first half of 2018 compared to USD 42.5 billion in the first half of 2017. The first-half export growth was driven by strong performance of services exports, which grew by 13% yoy.
There was also a positive recovery noted on merchandise exports, posting a 2.8% increase in June 2018 compared to June last year.
“Despite the higher base from last year, we are looking at an upward shift in the export growth rate. To sustain the momentum, DTI continues to drive more investments to build a stronger export manufacturing base that will cater to the domestic market and at the same time create surplus for export to other countries,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Philippine (PH) exports have been largely concentrated in electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, and other electronics. However, DTI is also looking at the growing non-electronic sectors, which has grown from 38% of total exports in 2007 to 47% in 2017.
DTI also explained that the growing import figures support the growing manufacturing industry. For the past eight years, manufacturing posted a 7.6% growth while imports were largely contributed by capital goods, equipment, intermediate goods, and raw materials.
“Building a strong manufacturing base will help us in our import substitution capability, at the same time produce products that are export-oriented,” Sec. Lopez added.
According to the trade chief, the current peso depreciation would help boost exports and expand the export production base. The peso depreciation encourages other countries to buy more goods and services from the Philippines. Sec. Lopez expressed optimism that the country would hit the nine percent export target by the end of 2018.