Philippines is broadly in line with 2017 growth target: minister

Delia Watkins
May 19, 2017

He said the first quarter growth of 6.4 percent surpassed both Vietnam's and Indonesia's 5.1- percent growth, and Thailand's 3.3-percent.

Full-year growth could reach 6.9 percent this year, according to the World Bank, well inside the Philippine government's 6.5-7.5 percent target.

It was the slowest economic expansion since firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte took office almost a year ago, sending Manila's equities down more than 1 percent and the peso to a one-week low.

The Philippines hopes to achieve growth of between 6.5% and 7.5% this year, Pernia said.

Pernia added that the slower GDP growth could be attributed to higher inflation rates.

Consumer spending remained the main engine for the decelerating economy.

Based on the National Economic and Development's presentation, there is a downward trend in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the post-election period.

Teen dies after downing dangerous amount of caffeinated drinks
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The Philippines was second only to China's 6.9 percent growth, Pernia noted.

"Exports of goods grew by 22.3 percent, the fastest since the third quarter of 2010, and exports of services grew steadily by 14.3 percent in the first quarter of the year", he said.

Agriculture growth accelerated to 4.9%. Construction growth slowed to a 0.9% gain from 11% in the previous quarter.

Double-digit increases in the imports of iron and steel, machinery and equipment, also suggested the economy ended the first quarter on a solid footing.

Pernia credited Philippine economy's performance during the period to the "recalibration" of government programs and a "changing of the guards", coupled with healthy election-related spending.

Pernia said to sustain the growth momentum of exports, it is important to ease government regulation, strengthen market intelligence gathering with the help of the private sector, and maximize trade agreements and economic groupings, especially with our Asean neighbors.

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