Philippines top 10 exports accounted for 80.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the Philippines’ total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $801.9 billion in 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for about 7% of total Filipino economic output.
From a continental perspective, over two-thirds (67.7%) of Filipino exports by value are delivered to other Asian countries while 17.3% are sold to North American importers. The Philippines ships another 12.9% worth of goods to European clients with 0.5% going to Africa.
Given the Philippines’ population of 102.6 million people, its total $56.3 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $550 for every resident in the densely populated Asian island country.
The unemployment rate for the Philippines was 4.7% as of December 2016 compared to 5.8% in January 2016 per Trading Economics.
Philippines Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Filipino global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Philippines.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$25.2 billion (44.8% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $7.8 billion (13.8%)
- Wood: $2.9 billion (5.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.5 billion (4.4%)
- Vehicles: $1.4 billion (2.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $1.3 billion (2.2%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $1.2 billion (2.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.1 billion (2%)
- Ships, boats: $1 billion (1.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $757.4 million (1.3%)
Wood was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 232% for the 7-year period starting in 2009.
In second place for improving export sales were Filipino shipments of gems and precious metals which rose in value by 158% led by booming international sales of gold.
High expense items ships and boats posted the third-fastest gain in value up 148%.
Only two of the top Filipino export categories declined in value, namely vehicles (down -10% from 2009 to 2016) and machinery including computers (down -10.5%).
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 is 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$4.5 billion (Up by 69.8% since 2009)
- Wood: $2.3 billion (Up by 212.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $898 million (Up by 53.7%)
- Ships, boats: $823 million (Up by 137.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $801.2 million (Up by 60.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $796 million (Down by -292.4%)
- Gems, precious metals: $571.3 million (Up by 651.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $459.7 million (Down by -33.6%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $430.4 million (Up by 501.9%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $396.2 million (Up by 59%)
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.
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. Overall, the Philippines incurred a -$29.6 billion trade deficit in 2016 almost tripling from the -$7.4 billion negative trade balance during 2009.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$7.6 billion (Up by 9.5% since 2009)
- Vehicles : -$6.2 billion (Up by 1,177%)
- Machinery including computers: -$3.9 billion (Down by -258.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$3 billion (Up by 313%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.3 billion (Up by 228.8%)
- Cereals: -$1.5 billion (Down by -26.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.4 billion (Up by 113.1%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$1.3 billion (Up by 103.2%)
- Paper, paper items: -$1.1 billion (Up by 166.3%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$1.1 billion (Up by 233.3%)
The Philippines has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for fossil fuels especially crude and refined oils, coal and petroleum gases.
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 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major export companies headquartered in the Philippines that Forbes included:
- San Miguel (industrial conglomerates)
- PLDT (telecommunications services)
- Ayala (industrial conglomerates)
- Aboitiz Equity Ventures (industrial conglomerates)
- Alliance Global Group (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)
- Calfurn Mfg Philippines (bamboo/wood furniture, kitchenware, tableware)
- Yuenthai Philippines (shirts, blouses)
- Pacific Paint Boysen Philippines (polymers, oils)
- Aruze G A Philippines Branch (machine tools, printers, copiers, operated games)
The capital city of the Philippines is Manila.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
See also Philippines Top Trading Partners, Japan’s Top 10 Exports and Highest Value Chinese Export Products
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 23, 2017
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Philippines. Accessed on February 23, 2017
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 11, 2016
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 11, 2016