Merchandise exports in May declined 3.8 percent to $4.71 billion from $4.89 billion year-on-year, as the sluggish global economy led to a lower demand for the country’s garment and mineral products, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.
The drop was the 14th consecutive decline in export shipments since the 4.1-percent decrease in April last year.
Total exports for the January-to-May period as a result fell 6.6 percent $22.074 billion from $23.638 billion on year.
The National Economic and Development Authority said companies should refocus their export strategies amid falling exports.
“The growth of exports is expected to remain muted for the rest of 2016 with the slow recovery of the global economy. Given the soft demand, export-oriented firms may need to refocus their strategies to consider non-traditional markets, which have shown healthier appetites in recent months,” said Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Exports of manufactures declined 0.5 percent, forest products by 82.6 percent, and petroleum products by 33.4 percent.
Exports of agro-based products and mineral products both fell 29.4 percent to $233.4 billion and 13.6 percent to $216.98 million, respectively.
The other mineral products category registered the steepest decline of 44 percent to $87.08 million among the top 10 export commodities
Electronic products, which account for 48 percent of total exports bill, recorded a modest decline of 4 percent year-on-year to $2.26 billion.
Pernia, however, exports growth to European countries. Exports to France and Switzerland grew 37.8 percent and 72 percent, respectively, in the first five months.
Exports to traditional markets such as Germany and the Netherlands declined 18.8 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.
“It would also be important to increase the flexibility of export firms to cater to the domestic market, given robust domestic demand. We also need to keep government spending on track to ensure that domestic demand continues to provide a cushion to mitigate the impact of the country’s weak exports growth,” said Pernia, who is also director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Japan remains the top export destination with a 22.1-percent share in May 2016 and with shipments up 1.5 percent or 1.3 percent for the first five months.
Meanwhile, among seven selected Asian economies, only Vietnam posted a positive export growth of 4.9 percent in May, although lower than the previous month’s 7.5-percent expansion.