Located in the western Pacific Ocean, the Southeast Asian nation called the Republic of Philippines shipped US$70.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 19.9% acceleration since 2015 and a 4.2% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Philippine peso depreciated by -13.8% against the US dollar since 2015 but appreciated by 1.6% from 2018 to 2019. Weaker local currency in the Philippines compared to 2015 make exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers in 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 87.6% of products exported from Philippines were bought by importers in: the United States (16.3% of the global total), Japan (15.1%), China (13.7%), Hong Kong (also 13.7%), Singapore (5.4%), South Korea (4.6%), Thailand (4.2%), Germany (3.9%), Netherlands (3.2%), Taiwan (also 3.2%), Malaysia (2.6%) and Vietnam (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 67.7% of Philippines’ exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 18.1% were sold to importers in North America. Philippines shipped another 12.5% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (0.7%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.7%) then Africa (0.3%).
Given the Philippines’ population of 108.3 million people, its total $70.3 billion in 2019 exported products translates to roughly $650 for every resident in the densely populated Southeast Asian island.
In addition, the Philippines furnished an estimated $37.5 billion worth of international services during 2019 encompassing about $7.5 billion from travel-related services. The focus of this article is on exported goods.
Philippines Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Filipino global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Philippines.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$34.7 billion (49.3% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $10.6 billion (15.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $2.6 billion (3.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.2 billion (3.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $1.6 billion (2.3%)
- Copper: $1.4 billion (2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $1.2 billion (1.8%)
- Vehicles : $1.1 billion (1.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.04 billion (1.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1.02 billion (1.5%)
Philippines top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (81.8%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fruits and nuts was the fastest grower among the Philippines’ top 10 export categories, up 25.5% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were Filipino shipments of plastics including articles made from plastic which appreciated 12.4%. Gems and precious metals posted the third-fastest gain up 12%, due to superior sales of gold and silver.
Mineral fuels including oil was the severest decliner among export categories for the Philippines. Its -9.4% year-over-year drop was weighed down by diminishing international sales of refined and crude petroleum oils.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Philippines’ Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
The following types of Filipino product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$7.7 billion (Up by 70% since 2018)
- Fruits, nuts: $2.1 billion (Up by 26.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $1.3 billion (Up by 9.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $770.4 million (Up by 303.6%)
- Copper: $664.9 million (Up by 15%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $526.2 million (Up by 24.3%)
- Ships, boats: $413.3 million (Down by -58%)
- Nickel: $367.5 million (Up by 14.1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $356.4 million (Down by -11.2%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $233.9 million (Down by -28.2%)
The Philippines has highly positive net exports in the international trade of electronic equipment including consumer electronics. In turn, these cashflows indicate the Philippines’ strong competitive advantages under the electronic equipment category.
Overall the Philippines incurred a -$42.6 billion trade deficit in 2019, down -10.6% from -$47.6 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from the Philippines that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country the Philippines’ goods trail Filipino importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$12.5 billion (Down by -1.5% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$7.4 billion (Down by -1.5%)
- Iron, steel: -$3.8 billion (Down by -25.9%)
- Cereals: -$2.9 billion (Up by 7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.7 billion (Down by -6.7%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$2 billion (Down by -13.1%)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.9 billion (Down by -39.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.7 billion (Up by 9.2%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$1.6 billion (Up by 0.4%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$1.5 billion (Up by 12.7%)
The Philippines has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products especially refined petroleum oils followed by crude oil, coal then petroleum gas.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate the Philippines’ competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for the Philippines to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly in alternative energy sources.
Filipino Export Companies
Ten Filipino corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major export companies headquartered in the Philippines that Forbes included.
- Aboitiz Equity Ventures (industrial conglomerates)
- Alliance Global Group (industrial conglomerates)
- Ayala (industrial conglomerates)
- PLDT (telecommunications services)
- San Miguel (industrial conglomerates)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also examples of Filipino export companies.
- Acbel Polytech Philippines (electric static converters, primary batteries)
- Aruze G A Philippines Branch (machine tools, printers, copiers, operated games)
- Calfurn Mfg Philippines (bamboo/wood furniture, kitchenware, tableware)
- Pacific Paint Boysen Philippines (polymers, oils)
- Yuenthai Philippines (shirts, blouses)
Searchable List of Philippines’ Most Valuable Export Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the Philippines during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Philippines' Export Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Computers, optical readers||$4,687,863,000||+7.1%|
|6||Electrical converters/power units||$1,992,083,000||-4.3%|
|8||Computer parts, accessories||$1,478,448,000||+9.6%|
|9||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$1,470,013,000||-50.3%|
|11||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$1,255,951,000||+10%|
|12||Phone system devices including smartphones||$1,082,854,000||+75.8%|
|14||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$903,539,000||+0.5%|
|17||Cases, handbags, wallets||$748,048,000||+28.4%|
|20||Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers||$613,150,000||+27.6%|
|21||Nickel ores, concentrates||$600,444,000||+31%|
|23||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$557,232,000||-54.1%|
|24||Radar, radio communication items||$507,123,000||+216.5%|
|25||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$460,552,000||+63.9%|
|26||Copper ores, concentrates||$439,081,000||-28.9%|
|27||Nickel matte, oxide sinters||$392,720,000||+4.7%|
|29||Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates||$357,747,000||+24.8%|
|30||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$342,237,000||+3.6%|
|31||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$341,892,000||-9.7%|
|32||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$341,651,000||+36,401%|
|34||TV/radio/radar device parts||$276,689,000||+23.7%|
|36||Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews||$251,061,000||-11.9%|
|37||Rubber tires (new)||$246,883,000||-7.8%|
|38||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$242,263,000||+71.3%|
|40||Electric motors, generators||$238,204,000||+15.1%|
|41||Processed petroleum oils||$225,321,000||-50.6%|
|42||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$221,666,000||-29.3%|
|43||Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)||$214,673,000||+3.4%|
|44||Magnets including electro-magnets||$214,593,000||-20.8%|
|45||Air or vacuum pumps||$206,394,000||+11.1%|
|47||Vegetable saps, extracts||$201,838,000||+21%|
|48||Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)||$197,636,000||+83.8%|
|49||Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry||$183,700,000||+59.5%|
|50||Electric motor parts||$182,268,000||+28.3%|
|51||Fruit and vegetable juices||$180,568,000||+55.5%|
|52||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$176,239,000||+24.9%|
|54||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$164,918,000||+10.7%|
|55||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$164,003,000||+24.7%|
|56||Plastic builders' items||$161,507,000||-10.1%|
|57||Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste||$161,162,000||+5.9%|
|59||Other organic cleaning preparations||$154,876,000||+18.1%|
|61||Miscellaneous plastic items||$148,444,000||+3.6%|
|62||Iron ores, concentrates||$143,395,000||+99.7%|
|63||Iron or steel scrap||$142,012,000||+16.4%|
|65||Photographic cameras, flashlight apparatus||$140,660,000||-37.3%|
|66||Lenses, prisms, mirrors||$139,559,000||-26.6%|
|67||Electric storage batteries||$138,539,000||-13.3%|
|68||Other measuring/testing machines||$130,488,000||-12.5%|
|69||Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers||$129,025,000||+7.1%|
|70||Carbon/natural mineral products||$128,859,000||-4.7%|
|71||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$128,806,000||+29.2%|
|74||Miscellaneous office machines||$124,490,000||+6%|
|75||Fibrous cellulosic pulps||$123,876,000||+75.1%|
|76||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$122,165,000||-13.4%|
|78||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$119,128,000||+14.8%|
|80||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$116,274,000||+95.2%|
|81||Whole fish (frozen)||$115,871,000||+10%|
|82||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$115,714,000||-5.8%|
|83||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$105,503,000||-18.9%|
|84||High-voltage switches, fuses||$100,191,000||+2.1%|
|87||Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms||$96,976,000||+142.4%|
|88||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$95,421,000||-2.4%|
|89||Vulcanized rubber items||$94,169,000||+12.4%|
|92||Machinery for making semi-conductors||$89,538,000||+23.3%|
|93||Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)||$88,474,000||-6%|
|94||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$86,922,000||+30%|
|95||Video recording equipment||$86,379,000||-2.2%|
|96||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings||$80,988,000||+30.5%|
|97||Plastics waste, scrap||$80,841,000||+104.3%|
|98||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$80,420,000||+142.1%|
|99||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$78,097,000||-24%|
|100||Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)||$77,081,000||-11.7%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$62.8 billion or 89.4% by value for all products exported from the Philippines during 2019.
In macroeconomic terms, the Philippines’ total exported goods represent 6.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($1.026 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.9% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2019 compares to 7.1% in 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Philippines’ total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. The average unemployment rate for the Philippines was 5.175% for 2019, down from 5.325% one year earlier per the International Monetary Fund.
See also Philippines Top 10 Imports, Philippines Top Trading Partners and Top Filipino Trade Balances
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