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PH economy seen to outperform Asean peers

/ 12:18 AM February 27, 2017

Barcelona-based economic analysis provider FocusEconomics has raised its growth forecast for the Philippines although at a pace slower than last year’s expansion.

“This year’s economic activity should lose some steam, but will nevertheless remain vigorous. Household consumption will benefit from a strong labor market, expanding remittances and sustained credit growth,” FocusEconomics said in a Feb. 21 report on the Philippines.

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FocusEconomics nonetheless jacked up its Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for 2017 to 6.5 percent from the forecast of 6.4 percent in January.

The Philippines’ projected growth for this year was the highest in emerging Asean, exceeding Vietnam’s 6.4 percent, Indonesia’s 5.2 percent, Malaysia’s 4.3 percent, Thailand’s 3.2 percent, and Singapore’s 1.7 percent.

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The GDP grew by a robust 6.8 percent last year, among the fastest across the region. The government targets 6.5-7.5 percent expansion this year.

So far this year, “the latest economic indicators suggest that the strong economic momentum recorded in the fourth quarter [of 2016] likely carried over into the start of 2017, although the buoyant economy’s pace of expansion is moderating somewhat,” FocusEconomics said.

“Growth in foreign workers’ remittances continued rising in December, likely supporting private consumption at the beginning of this year, and the manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) stayed expansionary in January, despite dipping on the back of slower output growth and new work inflows,” FocusEconomics noted.

For 2018, FocusEconomics sees economic growth further slowing to 6.4 percent. —BEN O. DE VERA

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