MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy grew by 7.5 percent year on year in the second quarter, staying on course to surpass the government’s full-year target.
“The Philippines is likely to surpass the growth target of 6 to 7 percent for the full year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said at a press conference.
Growth in the second quarter brought the average for the first semester to 7.6
The country’s growth in the second quarter was the same as that of China’s and was the fastest among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The Philippines’ 7.5 percent growth was faster than Indonesia’s 5.8 percent, Vietnam’s 5 percent, Malaysia’s 4.3 percent, Singapore’s 3.8 percent, and Thailand’s 2.8 percent.
Balisacan noted that the second quarter was the fourth consecutive quarter that the Philippines registered an annual growth rate of at least 7 percent. This development placed the Philippines on course to achieving “inclusive growth,” economic growth whose benefits are felt as well by the country’s poor.
Economists agree that the Philippines has to sustain a growth rate of at least 7 percent over the long term in order to make the benefits of economic growth trickle down to the masses.
So far, the Philippines’ economic growth is described as “non-inclusive” in that the country continues to suffer from high poverty incidence.
As of the first semester of last year, the poverty rate in the Philippines stood at 27.9 percent, one of the highest in Asia.
Balisacan said that with the favorable performance of the manufacturing sector and sustained robust growth of the services sector, a substantial number of jobs are expected to be created over the short to medium term. This should gradually lead to inclusive growth, he said.
Of the three key sectors of the economy, the industry sector, which includes manufacturing, grew the fastest in the second quarter from a year ago at 10.3 percent.
The services sector, which includes the business process outsourcing industry and banks, grew by 7.4 percent.
In contrast, the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector contracted by 0.3 percent.
Originally posted at 11:34 a.m.