Despite continued disruptions in the global economy due to COVID-related restrictions, the Philippine exports grew by 15.2% from January to November 2021 to $68.4B compared to the same period in 2020, based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) preliminary data.
Philippine merchandise exports increased by 6.6% year-on-year (YOY) amounting to $6.3B in November 2021 from $5.9B in November 2020.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez pointed out that “the 2021 figure also grew by 4.91% compared to the same period in 2019, which amounted to $65.17B. This reflected a better export performance compared to the prep-pandemic level.”
“Coconut oil recorded the highest annual increase of 95% out of the 10 major commodity groups in terms of export value.”
November PSA data also showed that coconut oil recorded the highest annual increase of 95% out of the 10 major commodity groups in terms of export value.
The country accounts for 60% of United States of America (USA) coconut oil imports and 73% of USA crude coconut oil imports. The rise in demand were due to changes in US trade policy, market trends, and dietary guidelines.
In 2019, the coconut sector contributed more than $1B in export revenues. Coconut, particularly coconut oil, is one of the top agricultural export commodities in 2019 placing the Philippines as the number one exporter of coconut oil in the world.
The Philippines maintained its global leader position in the coconut product exports in 2020. Philippine exports of coconut oil and desiccated coconut accounted for 52.48% and 35.91% of the global market, respectively.
“Over the years, coconut food exports landscape has transformed from traditional coconut oil into a higher value product such as virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut chips, coconut cream, among others. Reportlinker expects the revenue for packaged coconut water to grow at a CAGR of over 26% for 2019-2025. This is driven by the growing preference for coconut water as healthy, natural, and convenient beverage,” Lopez explained.
The trend on health and wellness products have generally strengthened due to the health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most sectors that are focused on health and wellness will continue to do well, according to the Euromonitor International Report.
Electronics exports in November 2021 amounted to $3.7B which brought the year-to-date (YTD) electronics exports to $42.0 B, 14.2% higher compared to the same period last year.
According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the cumulative total of semiconductors sold through November 2021 reached $1.05T, which is the industry’s highest-ever annual total.
Top Philippine electronics exports in November were components/devices (semiconductors), electronic data processing, other electronics, telecommunication, and consumer electronics.
Double-digit growths were also recorded in the export of other manufactured goods, other mineral products, and cathodes and sections of cathodes, which grew by 23.6%, 24.7% and 53.6%, respectively.
“To improve the country’s competitiveness in international markets, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is leading the drafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2022-2027 with an overarching goal of transforming the country from an exporter of commodities and intermediate goods to an exporter of high value products and services,” the trade chief said.
“The new PEDP is envisioned to take an industry development approach to boost export competitiveness i.e. by attracting export-oriented investments in innovation driven-sectors to increase product and service diversification,” the trade head added.
The USA is the Philippines’ top export market in November with exports valued at $997.85M (15.9% share in the total exports), followed by China with $887.48M (14.1%), Japan with $879.43M (14.0%), Hong Kong with $833.60M (13.3%), and Singapore with $360.68 (5.7%).
Out of the top five markets, Philippine exports to China and Japan decreased compared to November of last year.
To further sustain the growth in Philippine exports, the Department is participating in various international events and expos to promote Philippine companies and their products. In February, DTI and Philippine exporters will be participating in Gulfood 2022 or The Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire, a renowned international platform dedicated to the food and beverage processing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“We will be ramping up our initiatives on export marketing to ensure that the country sustains and surpasses 2021’s export rebound.”
“We have seen strong growth in most of our exported commodity groups and we will be ramping up our initiatives on export marketing to ensure that the country sustains and surpasses 2021’s export rebound,” he said.
As part of DTI’s initiatives to seize opportunities in key sectors and markets, the DTI will be leading a series of export promotion activities in the MENA region including, in-store promotion of Philippine food products in leading supermarkets in UAE and the Philippine participation in Gulfood.
The Department has also earlier announced the possible start of scoping discussions on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with the UAE.