Philippine exports plunge to eight-year low

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

According to government figures published on Tuesday, Philippine exports fell by 41% in January to the lowest levels in eight years. The plunge was preceded by a 40.4% year-on-year loss last December.

Philippines' January export receipts equaled US$2.494 billion, the lowest figures since April 2001, when exports were at $2.246 billion. The statistics are down 6.8% month-on-month from last December.

The National Statistics Office said that electronic exports, which comprise over half of the country's exports, dropped 48.4 percent to $1.345 billion, almost an eleven-year low.

The government planning office announced that the export predictions for this year had fallen to 6-8%, down from their original estimate of 1-3%.

"We expect the [export] losses will taper off in February and March. Export growth will still be negative but it will be less than in January," said the president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Sergio Ortiz-Luis, to the AFP news agency. "It looks like exports will be negative for the whole year, even assuming there is a recovery in the second half. It will be difficult to end up with positive growth at this point."