Low single-digit growth expected for PHL exports next year

Low single-digit growth expected for PHL exports next year

PHILIPPINE GOODS and service exports are likely to grow by low single digits next year, according to an industry group.

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said the outlook is better for next year, as the industry missed this year’s export target under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP).

“But one of the big parts of our exports are semiconductors and they don’t expect to meet their original target, that is why it is services that will drive the growth,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the National Exporters Week on Monday.

“Most of these will be in tourism and allied industries like transportation. The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will also be a big part because as a matter of fact we are number one in voice BPO despite competing with India.”

Last week, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. said the industry’s exports would contract by 9-10% this year and will be flat next year.

For this year, Mr. Ortiz-Luis said the industry is still trying to reach at least $100 billion in export value.

Under the PEDP, merchandise and service exports were initially projected to hit $126.8 billion this year and $143.4 billion in 2024.

Asked about the export growth target for next year, Mr. Ortiz-Luis said: “Most probably, it will post a (low) single-digit growth. If we are able to register double-digit growth, we will be able to reach $126 billion [in export value] next year.”

He noted the $126-billion target would most likely be reached by 2025 due to weak external demand amid rising geopolitical tensions and high inflation.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) projected the export of goods to grow by 6% starting next year until 2028.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ortiz-Luis said the PEDP would be under constant recalibration because of changing geopolitical and economic conditions.

“But while we are recalibrating it, slowly but surely, we are seeing that our exports are growing,” he added.

Bianca Pearl R. Sykimte, director of the Department of Trade and Industry Export Marketing Bureau, said there is a need to revisit the PEDP to take external developments into consideration.

“The international trading environment has been very volatile and the emphasis of the PEDP is really to develop agile exporters,” she told reporters.

“We cannot really predict what will happen in the future but what is crucial is that our exporters are very competitive so they can easily adjust to opportunities and threats in the international economy,” she added.

Ms. Sykimte said recalibrated targets would take into account economic growth and supply capability.

The DTI earlier projected exports of goods and services to grow by at least 5% this year or just a bit more favorable than the DBCC’s projected export growth target of 1% for goods and 6% for services.

“Most likely, we will still meet the targets for service exports, but in terms of merchandise exports, that is where it will be difficult because 60% of what we export are electronic products,” Ms. Sykimte said.

“On the agriculture front there has been a decline in the value of prices of coconut oil, which is a billion-dollar commodity export for us. These are the factors affecting our exports,” she added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile