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Sunday, December 10, 2023

PHL exports can still hit ’23 goals, says group

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THE Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) has expressed optimism that the country still has a “fighting chance” of meeting exports target for 2023 amid geopolitical conflicts such as the war in the Middle East and fluctuating price of fuel, among others.

“I think we should be achieving near to it. I think we have a fighting chance to meet the targets,” Philexport President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. told reporters on the sidelines of the 49th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) last week.

For this year, the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028 has set a target of $126.8 billion for the country’s merchandise and services exports.

Ortiz-Luis pointed out that the industry initially set a larger target for 2023. However, he said the supposed export earnings target for 2020 was downgraded, hence it is now the target for 2025.

He attributed the adjustment in the targets to the challenges in the global landscape such as the fluctuating price of fuel, which led to prices of goods rising in the country.

“Well, because of the challenges that are happening. We did not anticipate [the] prices of fuel. Although inflation targets [are slowing], that was not as low as what was projected before so [it should be about] 4 percent, and next year [maybe it should be about the same level],” the Philexport chief said.

Before, he noted that the projection for inflation was at 2 to 3 percent. “I think it will be just about 5.5 percent.”

Meanwhile, the Philexport chief hopes the conflict in Israel would not escalate as the conflict in Ukraine is persisting until now.

Rate hike

Last Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) hiked its key policy interest rates by 25 basis points to 6.5 percent to arrest the increase in the prices of goods and services.

In a press briefing last week, BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. said the Monetary Board, the BSP’s highest policy-making body, “recognized the need for this urgent monetary action to prevent supply-side price pressures from inducing additional second-round effects and further dislodging inflation expectations.”

The country’s inflation in September accelerated to 6.1 percent from 5.3 percent in August.

Despite the challenges, which Ortiz-Luis said are beyond the country’s control, the country’s exports will recover, albeit gradually.

“Nagrerecover, tumataas pero hindi ganun kabilis. [It’s recovering, but not growing as fast]. Slowly but surely it’s increasing but not as fast as we would like it to be,” the Philexport chief stressed.

In January to August 2023, the country’s merchandise export earnings amounted to $47.81 billion, a 6.6-percent decline from the $51.18 billion recorded in the same period last year.

In 2022, the country’s export earnings reached $78.98 billion.

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