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RP Export Growth Highest in Asia; Imports Slowly Recovering

03.17.2000

The Philippines emerged as the top export winner in the Asian region in 1999. While its Asian neighbors suffered export contractions during the early part of the year, the country started off with a robust growth which was sustained throughout the year. Preliminary data released by the China Economic Information Center showed that the Philippines’ 18.8 percent growth outpaced those of the rest of the region. Malaysia and Taiwan trailed with around 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively. 

 Growth of Exports of Selected  Asian Countries January – December 1999 & 1998 (in percent)  

Countries

1999

1998

Philippines

18.8

16.9

Malaysia

14.9

-4.6

Taiwan

10.0

-9.4

Korea

9.0

-4.5

China

6.1

0.6

Thailand

6.0

-2.2

Singapore

4.4

-12.1

Hong Kong

0.1

-7.4

Indonesia

-0.7

-8.8

 A common factor among these top three performers is the strong growth of the electronics sector widely attributed to Y2K concerns. Industry experts however foresee that the trend will continue on account of rapid development in information technology and related industries.

This augurs well for the Philippines whose electronic exports comprise more than half of total shipments. Another bright aspect for the industry is the increasing local content of its exports, which the Semiconductor Industries of the Philippines (SEIPI) estimated to be approaching 25 to 29 percent. This is a marked improvement from the 11 percent local content about ten years ago.

With recent investments geared towards new and expansion projects, the industry is expected to be at par with Singapore and Malaysia, the electronic hubs of the region.

Meanwhile, there is a general pick-up of Asian imports. In particular, Philippine imports grew by 4.1 percent, compared to the 18.8 percent decline in 1998 underpinned by the 8.7 percent increase in raw materials and intermediate goods. This development confirms the better growth prospects for the region in 2000. 

  Growth of Imports of Selected Asian CountriesJanuary –December  1999 & 1998   
( in percent )

Countries

1999

1998

Korea

28.3

-34.5

China

18.2

 -1.5

Thailand

16.2

-29.7

Malaysia

11.9

-24.3

Singapore

9.4

 -23.3

Taiwan

5.8

-8.5

Philippines

4.1

-18.8

Hong Kong

-2.6

-11.5

Indonesia

-12.5

-34.4

   

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