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IT-BPO exports’ growth is sustainable – BSP

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in its most recent Survey of Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) Services said that in 2013, earnings from exports of services went up by 13.4 percent to $14.2 billion from $12.5 billion in 2012.

The BSP noted higher export-to-revenue ratios in some segments such as  software development which went up from 91.7 percent to 93.9 percent and “other BPOs” (backroom operations, data processing, database activities among others) from 93.6 percent to 96.9 percent on a year-on-year basis.

However, the other sub-sectors recorded decreases in export-to-revenue ratios, indicating increases in the share of services provided to domestic clients, explained the BSP.

The industry’s export receipts comprised 92.6 percent of its total revenues of $15.3 billion during the period, slightly lower compared to 2012’s 93 percent. Of this total, contact or call centers accounted for 53.5 percent or $7.6 billion with the US as biggest IT-BPO services exports’ market at 73.9 percent share.

In the meantime by IT-BPO service category, transcription posted the highest growth in export receipts at 112.8 percent, from $198 million in 2012 to $422 million in 2013. Software development came in second with 23.3 percent, other BPOs at 12.4 percent, animation at 7.5 percent and contact centers  at 7.3 percent.

Software development was the key driver of exports growth contributing 4.9 percentage points to the 13.4 percent rise in total industry exports in 2013, followed by contact centers and other BPOs at 4.1 and 2.5 percentage points, respectively, to exports growth.

The survey also reported that the US remained the top export market for the local IT-BPO industry. “However, its share to total industry exports shrank to 73.9 percent in 2013 from 75.3 percent in the previous year,” said the BSP. “Meanwhile, the share of Europe as an export destination increased to 12.1 percent in 2013 from 9.9 percent a year ago. Other leading export markets were Australia-New Zealand (4.5 percent) and Japan (3.6 percent).”  The BSP’s survey covered 1,098 IT-BPO companies.

BSP monitors all foreign exchange flows into the country including remittances from overseas Filipinos, foreign direct investments, dollar reserves, among other foreign exchange indicators, all part of the balance of payments.

The BSP has been conducting its own BPO survey since 2006 although it has a lag time of two years. Besides the trade department, the National Statistics Office and the National Statistical Coordination Board also work with the BSP to consolidate numbers and definition of terms.

The central bank’s methodology was slightly different from industry numbers.