Philippine exports are poised for continuous upswing in 2023. The bulk of the country’s export commodities showed strong growth compared to 2021 and the year before and even prepandemic, with overall overseas shipments for the first three quarters of this year posting 4.7 percent increase over the same period last year. Merchandise exports for January to September 2022 reached US$58.31 billion, up from US$55.69 billion before the pandemic.
Data from the Department of Trade and Industry show cumulative exports from January to September this year rose by 23.6% from 2020 values and were 11% higher than the average values generated from 2017 through 2019.
“We have definitely seen a bouncing back of our exports as shown by the performance of our merchandise exports these past three quarters. We are positive that Philippine exports will continue to grow steadily in the years ahead, also thanks to relentless innovations across our manufacturing industries,” said Dr. Jhino Ilano, Assistant Director (Director III) – Export Marketing Bureau Department of Trade and Industry, during a press conference for ProPak Philippines.
Coconut oil, among the country’s top export products, experienced strong export growth in January to September last year. The product category has also shown steady increase in its share of overall exports in recent years. According to Dr. Ilano, coconut oil in terms of Philippine exports for the first three quarters of this year has a contribution of 29.9% growth with about USD783 million increase in exports compared to the same period last year.
“We expect sustained growth in our coconut oil exports and, in fact, coconut oil and coconut products in general can be a catalyst for further growth in our overall exports. With the signing of the coconut levy fund, we expect a funding source to support our coconut farmers in promoting and increasing our exports of coconut products,” he added.
DTI data likewise reveals a steady increase in the country’s services exports in the period covered, with the outlook for the coming year being positive. The packaging segment, in particular, is seen as having substantial growth potential, especially as manufacturers further innovate to meet market needs. At the same time, better packaging can boost exports of other products.
“As in other sectors, we need to always include consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions in the packaging market business model, and at present consumers are looking for sustainable yet eye-catching packaging. If we are to look at improving Filipino products, the quality is already there. We just really need to have better packaging, innovative packaging that addresses concerns on sustainability and the environment,” he said.