NEDA: PHL still one of Asia’s top performers even with 6%-6.5% GDP growth

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) — The economy expanded in the third quarter, bolstering expectations of hitting a 6 to 6.5-percent full year gross domestic product (GDP) growth which will enable the Philippines to maintain its position as one of Asia’s best performers.

“From a global perspective, even from a regional perspective, even as we achieve only say at least 6 percent, that is still a very impressive performance compared to our neighbors because a 6-percent growth means that you actually accelerated compared to your first two quarters, whereas, everywhere else except Vietnam, the forecast is a decline,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters.

International financial institutions World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank have lowered their economic growth forecasts for the Philippines given the unforeseen changes in the global economy.

“Despite the downward revision but they still see us as the most promising country, emerging countries in Asia. I suppose that the general state of the economy, the economic environment, at least at the domestic front, is very favorable. That’s the one that separates us from many countries,” Balisacan said.

He noted that faster government spending, personal consumption expenditures and private investment are expected to be robust during the last two quarters.

“I think, third quarter (growth) should be good… Government spending has improved much compared to the first half. We hope to see the same thing,” he said.

Balisacan, also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, cited the increased production of the manufacturing sector based on Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) data for August.

He said the robust growth of exports in services is expected to be sustained.

“Expectations are still very positive –business confidence, consumer confidence, interest rates are very low, inflation continues to be low so that should all be a boost for domestic consumption,” he added.

Further, the NEDA chief said private investment will also continue increasing.

“We have also many big PPP (public-private partnership) projects in the pipeline that we’re waiting for and are being implemented and will accelerate implementation. These will add to the impetus for growth in the coming quarters and years,” he said.

The Philippine economy grew by 5.3 percent in the first semester of 2015. (PNA)