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Slower shrinkage gives exporters ‘cautious optimism’

The slowdown in contraction of merchandise exports in July has given exporters a ‘cautious optimism’ that they are on the path to recovery, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry said.

DTI Export Marketing Bureau director Senen Perlada said exports of goods in July 2020 amounted to $5.65 billion, a 9.6-percent decline from the previous year.

Contraction of merchandise exports has eased to single digit in July since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country in March, the time when the government started to implement community quarantine measures.

Export revenues in March went down by 24.7 percent, 49.9 percent in April, 26.9 percent in May, and 12.5 percent in June.

“The sharp fall in April 2020 year-on-year performance, at the onset of the pandemic where most economies went on lockdown, was dramatically halted from further plummeting and rebounded in the next three months, to bring the exports value much closer to the same level of trade last year,” Perlada said.

Year-to-date contraction of exports in January to July period also slowed down to 16.4 percent from 17.6-percent decline in the first half of the year.

“The sustained slowdown in the rates of decline in both year-on-year and year-to-date terms provides for cautious optimism that merchandise exports are on the path to recovery,” the Trade and Industry official said.

However, he noted that the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna will likely impact the August export figures.

“The reversion of major exporting areas of the country to MECQ in early August, with its attendant challenges in availability transportation, health protocols for workers, and other supply chain disruptions could be a cause for concern for merchandise export performance for August and the rest of the year,” Perlada said.