That dollar amount reflects an 18% increase since 2017 and a 16.8% upturn from 2020 to 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Philippine peso appreciated by 2.3% against the US dollar since 2017 and gained 0.7% from 2020 to 2021. Stronger local currency in the Philippines makes exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers in 2021.
The Philippines’ biggest export products by value in 2021 were electronic circuits and microassemblies, computers, insulated wire or cable, printing machinery and refined copper. In aggregate, those major exports account for 47.3% of overall exports sales from the Philippines. Those commodities suggest some diversification in the country’s range of exported goods.
The Philippines ranks among world-leading nations for exporting bananas, pineapples and nickel. Filipino exporters also place as a major force among Asian nations in the international sales for the number one export, electronic circuits.
Key Trading Partners for the Philippines
The latest available country-specific data shows that 87.8% of products exported from the Philippines were bought by importers in: United States of America (15.9% of the Filipino global total), mainland China (15.5%), Japan (14.4%), Hong Kong (13.3%), Singapore (5.6%), Thailand (4.6%), Germany (3.9%), South Korea (3.4%), Taiwan (also 3.4%), Netherlands (3%), Malaysia (2.5%) and Vietnam (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, over two-thirds (68.3%) of Philippines’ exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 17.5% were sold to importers in North America. Philippines shipped another 12.3% worth of goods to Europe. Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%) then Africa (0.3%).
Given the Philippines’ population of 110.2 million people, its total $74.6 billion in 2021 exported products translates to roughly $675 for every resident in the densely populated island nation in Southeast Asian. That dollar amount exceeds the average $600 for 2020.
Philippines Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Filipino global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Philippines.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$38.1 billion (51% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $9.5 billion (12.7%)
- Copper: $2.6 billion (3.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.2 billion (3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $2 billion (2.7%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.9 billion (2.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $1.5 billion (2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1.3 billion (1.7%)
- Vehicles: $1.17 billion (1.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $1.14 billion (1.5%)
Philippines top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (82.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 62.6% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was copper via a 47.7% gain.
Philippines’s shipments of plastics both as materials plus items made from plastic posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 41.4%.
The leading decliner among Philippines’s top 10 export categories was gems and precious metals thanks to a -16.5% drop year over year. That product category was dragged down by lower international sales of gold exported by the Philippines.
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.
Products Generating Highest Trade Surpluses for Philippines
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 billion (Up by 19.6% since 2020)
- Copper: $1.5 billion (Up by 29.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.2 billion (Down by -27.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $934 million (Down by -23.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $867.5 million (Down by -16.7%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $559.8 million (Up by 27.7%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $490.9 million (Up by 65.3%)
- Nickel: $470 million (Up by 24.4%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $414.4 million (Up by 22.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $287.4 million (Up by 47.7%)
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.
Products Causing Greatest Trade Deficits for Philippines
The Philippines incurred an overall -$49.8 billion trade deficit in 2021, expanding by 85.2% from -$26.9 billion in red ink one year earlier for 2020.
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$14.6 billion (Up by 97.9% since 2020)
- Vehicles: -$5.8 billion (Up by 38.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$4.7 billion (Up by 49.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.6 billion (Up by 119.8%)
- Cereals: -$3.4 billion (Up by 29%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$3.1 billion (Up by 39%)
- Machinery including computers: -$2.3 billion (Reversing a $308.2 million surplus in 2020)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$2 billion (Up by 37%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$2 billion (Up by 41.3%)
- Meat: -$1.8 billion (Up by 89.3%)
The Philippines has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products notably refined petroleum oils followed by crude oil, coal then petroleum gas.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate the Philippines’ competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for the Philippines to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly in alternative energy sources.
Major Filipino Export Companies
Ten Filipino corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major export companies headquartered in the Philippines that Forbes included.
- Aboitiz Equity Ventures (industrial conglomerates)
- Alliance Global Group (industrial conglomerates)
- Ayala (industrial conglomerates)
- PLDT (telecommunications services)
- San Miguel (industrial conglomerates)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also examples of Filipino export companies.
- Acbel Polytech Philippines (electric static converters, primary batteries)
- Aruze G A Philippines Branch (machine tools, printers, copiers, operated games)
- Calfurn Mfg Philippines (bamboo/wood furniture, kitchenware, tableware)
- Pacific Paint Boysen Philippines (polymers, oils)
- Yuenthai Philippines (shirts, blouses)
Searchable List of Philippines’ Most Valuable Export Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the Philippines during 2021. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020.
|Rank||Philippines' Export Product||2021 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Computers, optical readers||$3,740,066,000||+12%|
|5||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$2,232,262,000||+43.6%|
|6||Electrical converters/power units||$1,816,248,000||+2.7%|
|7||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$1,682,775,000||+9.8%|
|8||Nickel ores, concentrates||$1,455,949,000||+37.8%|
|10||Computer parts, accessories||$1,320,440,000||-42.7%|
|12||Phone devices including smartphones||$1,138,423,000||+146.6%|
|16||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$884,132,000||+17.8%|
|18||Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers||$719,994,000||+16.4%|
|20||Cases, handbags, wallets||$647,167,000||+54.6%|
|21||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$600,632,000||+9.1%|
|22||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$596,372,000||+158.1%|
|23||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$531,110,000||+23.7%|
|24||Nickel matte, oxide sinters||$499,242,000||+24.2%|
|25||Radar, radio communication items||$406,580,000||-10.8%|
|27||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$373,148,000||+0.6%|
|30||Electric motors, generators||$334,355,000||+5.5%|
|31||Fruit and vegetable juices||$332,329,000||+20.5%|
|32||Copper ores, concentrates||$299,440,000||+87%|
|33||Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances||$286,880,000||+157.9%|
|34||Magnets including electro-magnets||$272,630,000||+59%|
|35||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$267,910,000||+11.9%|
|36||Rubber tires (new)||$266,203,000||+25.8%|
|38||Air or vacuum pumps||$252,012,000||+24.8%|
|39||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$239,082,000||+13.7%|
|41||Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates||$235,545,000||-14.9%|
|42||Miscellaneous plastic items||$234,827,000||+55.3%|
|43||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$223,790,000||+65.2%|
|46||Iron ores, concentrates||$210,830,000||-57.9%|
|47||Vegetable saps, extracts||$207,748,000||+27.8%|
|50||Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry||$178,209,000||+23.5%|
|51||Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)||$176,544,000||+22.2%|
|52||Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste||$175,537,000||+21.7%|
|53||Electric storage batteries||$172,427,000||-8.3%|
|54||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$171,584,000||+49.2%|
|55||High-voltage switches, fuses||$171,350,000||+14.9%|
|56||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$164,173,000||+16.8%|
|58||Fibrous cellulosic pulps||$156,919,000||+17.6%|
|59||Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)||$152,366,000||+151.3%|
|60||Iron or steel scrap||$147,044,000||+41.5%|
|61||Carbon/natural mineral products||$144,262,000||+19.3%|
|62||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$142,831,000||-67.9%|
|63||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$142,690,000||+33.4%|
|64||Miscellaneous office machines||$141,135,000||+28.5%|
|65||Electric motor parts||$135,827,000||+2.7%|
|68||Copper waste, scrap||$133,366,000||+156.5%|
|69||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$132,313,000||+73.1%|
|70||Other measuring/testing machines||$132,308,000||+30.7%|
|71||Mixed sauces, seasonings||$127,506,000||+32.5%|
|74||TV/radio/radar device parts||$124,386,000||-8.6%|
|76||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$120,206,000||-3.9%|
|78||Plastic builders' items||$108,656,000||-6.4%|
|79||Concrete/artificial stone items||$108,335,000||+56.5%|
|80||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$108,075,000||+60.2%|
|81||Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms||$107,634,000||+40.3%|
|82||Vulcanized rubber items||$107,166,000||+36.8%|
|83||Industrial fatty acids and alcohols||$106,155,000||+67.3%|
|84||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$102,345,000||+6.5%|
|87||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$100,367,000||+69.3%|
|90||Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers||$95,318,000||+5.9%|
|92||Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)||$91,430,000||+2.4%|
|93||Electric ignition/start equipment||$91,415,000||+148.1%|
|94||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$90,074,000||+16.4%|
|95||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$89,189,000||+24.6%|
|97||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$86,734,000||+62.4%|
|98||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$86,637,000||-17.2%|
|99||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$86,337,000||+38.9%|
|100||Cameras, flash apparatus||$85,652,000||+63.6%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$67 billion or 89.7% by value for all products exported from the Philippines during 2021.
The fastest growers among the 100 most valuable exports from the Philippines were: amine-function compounds (up 332.3% from 2020 to 2021), coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 158.1%), spraying mechanical appliances (up 157.9%), copper waste or scrap (up 156.5%), live fish (up 152.2%), prepared or preserved crustaceans and molluscs (up 151.3%), electrical ignition and starting equipment (up 148.1%), phone devices including smartphones (up 146.6%) then copper ores and concentrates (up 87.1%).
In macroeconomic terms, the Philippines’ total exported goods represent 7.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($1.011 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.4% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2021 compares to 6.8% in 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Philippines’ total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for the Philippines was 7.758% at April 2022, down from an average 10.4% for 2020 per the International Monetary Fund.
See also Philippines Top 10 Imports and Philippines Top Trading Partners
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