The Department of Trade and Industry is optimistic Philippine exports will recover in the second quarter of 2017 after a notable decline in the previous months.
Trade and marketing and promotions bureau chief Senen Perlada said exporters of non-electronics products had put in extra efforts to rebound from the decline in the months of February, March, and April.
“We forecast electronics would continue its growth trend, while non-electronics will start to recover from its double-digit decline,” he said.
The optimism, he said, was based on the business expectations survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which included a forecast for the second quarter by exporters, importers, and companies.
Exports dropped 8.5 percent to $5.11 billion in April from $5.59 billion a year ago, the fourth consecutive month of decline, dragged by the decrease in non-electronic manufactured products (wood manufactures, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, processed food and beverages, and furniture and fixtures) and agro-based products.
Non-electronic exports like wood products, machinery, processed food, furniture, beverages and transport equipment dragged down the outbound shipments.
The decline would have been worse if not for the 5.5-percent growth in electronics exports that accounted for 69.1 percent of total shipments for the month.
The trade deficit, as a result, widened to $3.62 billion in April from $1.55 billion in the same month in 2017, the largest trade gap since December 2017.
The trade deficit in the first four months of 2018 increased to $12.20 billion from $7.66 billion in the same period of 2017, as imports rose 10.5 percent to $33.16 billion while exports dropped 6.2 percent to $20.96 billion.
Despite the disappointing figures, Perlada is optimistic of a turnaround in the remaining quarters of 2018 as both services and electronics exports remain strong.
“We can still project a high, single-digit growth for services. There are still contracts being signed and the BPO companies continue to believe in the Philippine economy,” he said.