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Philippine August exports post steepest drop in 8 mths

* Exports in Aug at $3.8 bln vs yr-ago $4.2 bln

* Electronics shipments down 14.9 pct from yr ago

MANILA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The Philippines' statistics office on Wednesday released data on August exports:

KEY DATA: Total exports Aug July June May Apr Mar

yr/yr change (pct) -9.0 6.0 4.3 19.7 7.6 -0.8

in $ bln 3.8 4.73 4.31 4.93 4.64 4.32 Electronics exports yr/yr growth (pct) -14.9 -25.6 -14.6 -0.7 -23.8 1.1 in $ bln 1.77 1.68 1.89 1.87 1.64 2.26

NOTE: Some numbers for previous months have been revised.

KEY POINTS:

- Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has said rising orders from other countries and healthy demand for the Philippines' agricultural products should offset soft demand from traditional markets for its main semiconductor products.

- The economic planning chief has said the country will likely meet the high-end of its 5 to 6 percent growth as strong domestic demand will likely compensate for the weakness in exports.

- The Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc cut its export growth forecast this year to 5-7 percent from 10-15 percent on slowing demand, although the group is hopeful of a rebound in orders in the second half after current inventory cuts stabilise.

- The government has forecast export growth of 10 percent this year. It has trimmed its import growth forecast to 12 percent from 15 percent as manufacturers feel the brunt of the global economic slowdown.

- The Philippine central bank kept its key policy rate last month, but economists believe that with inflation under control, it may ease policy further before the year ends to support the economy and contain the peso's strength.

- The Philippines provides about 10 percent of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services, including for mobile phone chips and micro processors. Semiconductors account for about three-fifths of exports.

- Other top exports include garments and accessories, wood furniture, vehicle parts, coconut oil, and tropical fruits.

LINK:

- National Statistics Office website

(Reporting by Erik Dela Cruz; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

((karen.lema@thomsonreuters.com)(+632 841-8938)(Reuters Messaging: karen.lema.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: PHILIPPINES ECONOMY/EXPORTS