Optimism prevails as Neda chief confident PH will hit growth target
MANILA, Philippines–An air of optimism hung over the country’s chief economist as he predicted the government would hit its target growth rate by the third quarter of 2019 with a strong push from spending on public goods and services.
On the sidelines of the state-run Philippine Institute for Development Studies’ (Pids) Fifth Annual Public Policy Conference, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said “we’ll have a higher performance” in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter.
Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said third-quarter GDP growth would be “higher than the first semester [figure],” which averaged 5.5 percent or below the 6-7 percent full-year growth goal.
The Neda chief said aside from the usual growth drivers, the full implementation of the 2019 national budget augured well for the economy.
“We have to believe in ourselves,” said Pernia, predicting a 6 percent economic growth between July and September.
He revised an earlier outlook on the impact of reduced oil output from Saudi Arabia as a result of an attack on its oil refinery.
“It’s an ephemeral thing, short-lived,” said Pernia, who earlier expressed concern that rising oil prices as a result of reduced Saudi output might hurt the Philippines’ gains against inflation.
According to the group Laban Konsyumer Inc, which monitors oil prices, Dubai crude prices eased to $62.32 per barrel on Thursday, Sept. 19, from $66.90 on Wednesday, Sept. 18. /TSB
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