Exports increase nearly 30% in May

Published July 9, 2021, 4:24 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The country’s exports continued to recover, growing 29.8 percent in May this year, spurred by the reopening of major economies globally.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that exports in May this year reached $5.89 billion compared to $4.54 billion in May 2020. The growth, however, was slower compared to the 74.1 percent increase in the previous month.

“We are very optimistic that we can sustain this upward exports performance trajectory as our major trading partners continue opening up their borders and easing travel restrictions, given the success rate in their vaccination drive The same thing here in the country as we rollout the vaccination program and allowed 100% operating capacity even during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified ECQ (MECQ) months of March and April of this year,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Based on the PSA data, electronic exports continue to be the Philippines’ top exports with a 61.3 percent share to total exports, growing at a hefty 22.3 percent.

Fastest growing subsectors are medical/industrial Instruments (240% growth), consumer electronics (216.2%), and office equipment (120.5%). Semiconductor exports, while only managing to grow 11.3 percent, are still the major contributor to the total electronics exports, with a share of 68.5 percent, valued at $2.53 billion.

Non-electronics products that performed beyond expectations include travel goods and handbags (884.1%), Christmas décor (433.6%), basketworks (380.7%), ceramic tiles (420.8%), and fine jewelry (390.7%).

The trade chief explained that this is an indication of the gradual recovery of the consumer market as more people resume their lives interrupted by the pandemic. Total non-electronics exports expanded 20 percent year on year.

“As we focus our efforts on the key export sectors of our country, we hope to regain our lost opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain the momentum of accelerating our export growth,” Lopez added.

China continued to be the Philippines’ top market with a market share of 16.2%, amounting to $954.3 Million, with growth tapering to 22.3 percent. The USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore complete the top five markets – comprising 64.8 percent of total exports to the world.


The USA market, in particular, expanded an impressive 84.6%, and if this growth continues, it is poised to overtake China as the Philippines’ top market in succeeding months. Global trade is expected to further rebound in Q2 according to UNCTAD’s outlook for 2021, largely dependent on subsiding pandemic restrictions.

The UN agency expects the fiscal stimulus packages, particularly in developed countries, to strongly support the global trade recovery throughout 2021. Sectors expected to maintain growth include pharmaceuticals, communication and office equipment, minerals, and agri-food.