DBCC to review GDP growth, exports targets

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Sept. 23 (PNA) — The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will meet this month to review the country’s economic growth and export targets this year in the face of weak global markets.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters the 7 to 8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) target for full year was already “unrealistic.”

“The scenario for the external market for the second half is a big challenge. (But) as many of our partners are saying, including the ADB (Asian Development Bank), even if you hit only 6 percent, you are a stellar performer in our region,” he said.

The Philippine economy expanded 5.6 percent in April to June amid regional slowdown, bringing first-half GDP to 5.3 percent. An 8.7-percent in the second half is needed to hit the government’s 7 to 8 percent target for the year.

Balisacan, who is also the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), sees flat exports growth against the projected 7-percent growth; while imports within target 2 percent this year.

“In exports, given that we have in the last six to seven months, it is difficult to reach (the 7 percent). External trade as a whole is a bit weaker than we initially expected, targeted,” he said.

”The global market is a bit shaky. We haven’t seen the end of the tunnel yet for the Chinese economy, how far it will go down. It’s probably plateauing. It’s good that the United States economy is bouncing back but there are many other uncertainties out there. Hopefully, our trading partners will perform well in the coming months, (thus) exports will improve,” he added.

Balisacan is also optimistic that the services exports performance can offset weak merchandise export.

Meanwhile, merchandise imports posted double-digit growth for the second consecutive month in July, enabling the Philippines to rank first among monitored economies in East and Southeast Asia in posting imports growth during the month.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said significant increases in inward shipments from the country’s major trading partners buoyed up merchandise imports to USD 6.5 billion in July 2015, up 16.9 percent from USD 5.6 billion in the same month last year.

“The steady growth in importation of key imported commodities is expected to further boost the growth of investments and household consumption in the third quarter of 2015. This will offset weak revenues from exports, which remains affected by dampened global demand,” Balisacan further said.

Increase in outturns for consumer goods (72.8 percent), raw materials and intermediate goods (41.1 percent), and capital goods (32.5 percent), which all made up for the significant decline in import bills for mineral fuels and lubricants (-76.4 percent), moderated the growth of imports for July 2015. (PNA)