Motor vehicle output in the Philippines went up by 7.7 percent in the first quarter, making the country the second fastest growing market for vehicle production in Southeast Asia.

Data from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Automotive Federation (AAF) showed 32,786 motor vehicles were rolled out from Philippine factories from January to March, higher than the 30,456 units in the same period in 2023.

The Philippines placed second to Myanmar, which posted a 551.4-percent surge in motor vehicle production to 469 units in the first quarter from just 72 units in the same period a year ago.

Aside from the Philippines and Myanmar, Malaysia was the only other country in the region, which registered a growth in motor vehicle output in the first quarter at 6.1 percent.

Other countries tracked by the AAF registered declines in motor vehicle production in the first quarter such as Indonesia at 24.8 percent, Thailand at 18.4 percent and Vietnam at 18 percent.

Total motor vehicle output in ASEAN dropped by 15.7 percent to 985,647 units from 1.17 million units.

For March alone, Philippine motor vehicle output declined by 12.9 percent to 10,407 units from 11,946 units in the same month in 2023.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort attributed the year-on-year decline in vehicle production in March to slower demand growth for vehicles.

'Higher inflation and interest rates that increased borrowing or financing costs, including for auto loans, started to slow down demand for both vehicle sales and production,' Ricafort said.

Total motor vehicle sales in the Philippines went up by 12.7 percent to 109,606 units from January to March compared to last year's 97,284 units.

The growth in Philippine motor vehicles sales in the first quarter placed the Philippines behind Myanmar's 71.5 percent increase, but ahead of Singapore's 5.3 percent and Malaysia's five percent.

Motor vehicles sales in ASEAN contracted by 12.7 percent to 759,905 units in the first quarter from 870,477 units in the same quarter in 2023.

The data also showed the Philippines registered the second biggest drop in motorcycle and scooter production in the region as the country's output fell by 14.5 percent to 309,807 units in the first quarter from the previous year's 362,365 units.

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