Local chemical firms expect to post a modest 1-percent export growth next year amid the gradual recovery of the world economy, and return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.
“The economies are predicting that 2023 will still be slow because foreign countries are just starting a recession now. Maybe 2024 will be more likely to target to have a complete recovery because of the nature of our product –(these are) postponable items,” said Oscar
Barrera, trustee for the chemicals sector of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT).
Barrera said consumers during an inflation surge allocate their money for basic needs like food, thus purchases for items like lipsticks, perfumes, makeup and nail polish will now be more secondary or delayed.
He also cited the rising electricity rates which are affecting the industry, particularly operations of their machines.
Barrera sees the industry’s growth returning to pre-pandemic levels in 2024, which used to be about 3 percent every year until 2019, or nequivalent to $5 million export earnings.
“That one probably can go back 3 percent in 2024, maybe even 5 percent. The recovery will come up,” he added.
Barrera said industry players are keeping Europe and the Middle East as their biggest markets as they target to penetrate new ones.
“Europe is harder now to export because recently during the last two years, they were kind of protective also of their industries so they put non-tariff barriers so that they make it harder for foreign countries to sell to them…,” he said.
Barrera further said there are also new product formulations being developed, noting that chemicals are raw materials utilized by other industries.
“For example, the food industry also needs certain chemicals. The semiconductors, yes, we are hopeful the semiconductors are going to come back very quick and they need some basic chemicals there like hydrochloric acid as an example for cleaning the semiconductor chips and wafers. So basically, chemicals are steady and coming back because of certain industries that are more stable in export,” he added. By PhilExport