RP economy grows 6.6%

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew 6.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, on the back of solid performances of all major sectors.

GDP growth in the July-September period picked up from 5.1 percent in the same quarter last year, although this was slower than a record 7.5 percent growth registered in the second quarter this year.

“The strong outturn of a 6.6 percent output growth in the third quarter puts GDP growth in the first three quarters of this year at 7.1 percent. With growth generally spilling into the next quarter as domestic demand strengthens, the Philippine economy should be able to surpass the projected 2007 full-year target of 6.1 to 6.7 percent growth,” said acting Economic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos.

“Barring any sudden changes in the external environment, the economy is set for further strong growth in the fourth quarter of this year. Nonetheless, inflationary pressures arising from the volatility in the oil market must be vigilantly monitored as this may be carried forward and pose downward pressures on future growth prospects,” Santos, who also serves as the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, said.

“Easily, we can reach 7.0 percent growth for 2007. We can also easily hit 7.0 percent growth in the fourth quarter,” he said.

The gross national product, which is the sum of GDP and net factor income from abroad comprised mainly of remittances from Filipinos overseas, expanded by 8.2 percent in the third quarter, faster than 5.6 percent a year earlier.

“The data shows a positive Philippine economic outlook of sustained growth going forward,” said Jonathan Ravelas, an economist at BDO Unibank Inc.

National Statistical Coordination Board secretary general Romulo Virola said the expansion of the economy continued to outpace population growth in the third quarter, as per capita GDP growth picked up to 4.5 percent from 3.1 percent a year ago.

Per capita GNP growth accelerated to 6.1 percent from only 3.5 percent while per capita personal consumption expenditures expanded by 3.6 percent, faster than 3.1 percent in the third quarter last year.

Among the three major sectors, the services sector recorded a 7.2 percent expansion and contributed a significant 3.6 percentage points to the overall GDP growth in the third quarter.

This was followed by the industry sector with a 6.1 percent increase, a 2.0 percentage point contribution to the overall growth. The agriculture, fishery and forestry sector grew 5.6 percent and added in a 1.0-percentage point contribution.

Largest gainers among subsectors were mining and quarrying with a 21.8 percent growth in the July-September period; construction, 16.7 percent; fishery, 9.7 percent; electricity, gas and water, 8.5 percent; private services, 8.5 percent; trade, 8.2 percent; finance, 7.9 percent; real estate, 6.9 percent; and transport, storage and communication, 6.4 percent.