PH 2020 exports forecast to fall 21%

Published August 25, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The country’s 2020 export is projected to fall short by 21.4 percent from the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) target given the steep declines in both merchandize and services, according to the initial data by the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Based on the EMB assumptions presented recently by Director Senen Perlada, exports forecast for the year is expected to reach only $74.1 billion as against the PEDP target of $102 billion to $105 billion for 2020.

This means this year’s exports forecast could be lower by $28 billion to $27 billion than target.

According to EMB’s assumptions, Perlada said that merchandize exports could contributed only $38.1 billion as against the PEDP target of $54.8 to $56.9 billion this year. This is 28.6 percent lower than target.

In terms of services exports, the forecast is a 12.1 percent off target to $36 billion from PEDP target range of $47.2 to $49 billion.

Actual exports in 2019 reached a total of $94.36 billion or 4.4 percent higher than previous year. Of this figure, exports of goods contributed $53.38 billon or 2.69 percent growth rate while services contributed $40.97 billion for a faster growth rate of 6.71 percent.

In presenting this grim scenario, Perlada noted of the dismal performance in the country’s exports in the first half of the year from the robust first two months of 2020. In January, exporters grow 9.4 percent year on year and 6.1 percent year to date in February until the COVID-19 hit that affected the March performance and onwards.

 For the merchandize exports alone, Perlada noted of the steepest decline he has ever seen at 49.9 percent decline in April.

But he cited that the declines have tapered off sometime in May with 26.9 percent decline and June at negative 17.8 percent year to date.

 “So, the decline is decelerating and to me that is already good news because the trajectory is point to recovery trend,” he said.

 The EMB and the Export Development Council are conducting regional consultations with the 18 government agencies to assess the PEDP, how they could contribute to the overall achievements of targets.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., said they have started reviewing and re-writing the PEDP 2018-2022 version of in its export plan amidst a consistently growing economy but weakening export performance until before COVID-19 hit.

Though still negative, Ortiz-Luis cited the improvement in May where the rate of decline has decelerated. “We want to take this improvement in its export performance as a positive outcome of the relaxation of quarantine measures in certain economies, the gradual reopening of businesses, and the resumption of production in our country and that in our trading partners,” he said.

 He reported about recoveries in certain companies and sectors such as holiday decors and garments, both non-essential goods. “We really hope that this momentum can be sustained,” he said.