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Finance exec says PH economy to grow above 6% despite disasters, coronavirus

/ 02:13 PM February 04, 2020

CEBU CITY — Even with the disasters and the new coronavirus affecting the country, a financial expert believes the Philippine economy would continue to rise as several other factors would keep it afloat.

Jette Gamboa, Metrobank head of strategic planning and investor relations, forecasted more than six percent increase in the Gross Domestic Product in the country compared to the 5.9 increase in the 2019 fiscal year.

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Gamboa said the coronavirus issue has no effect so far as the economy is concerned, and she believed it would have minimal effect as long as the problem is solved immediately. She was positive that the issue would be resolved in a few months.

During her bank’s forum in Cebu City, Gamboa said even the Taal volcanic eruption had not affected the economy as of this time.

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“Coming into 2020, we are very optimistic that this year will be a better year,” said Gamboa.

“All the other economic indicators or drivers are strong enough and it is too early to see if there are effects of the coronavirus and even the Taal eruption. But I am positive that it will have a minimal effect,” Gamboa said.

Gamboa cited strong drivers that would make the economy grow faster in 2020, including low inflation and lower interest rates which would improve spending and loan growth.

The approval of the government’s 2020 budget early would also be a driver in the economy as it will accelerate spending on infrastructure projects. In turn, government spending will also boost private sector investments and improve investor sentiments.

Gamboa also said that the country is also enjoying stable oil prices and a stable peso.

These indicators, according to Gamboa, would cushion the effects of the coronavirus issue as well as other disasters like the Taal eruption.

Gamboa said Central Visayas would also be an asset to the economic growth with Cebu in particular.

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The Metrobank expert said the top industries in Cebu to watch out for in terms of growth include real estate because of the high demand for office and residential spaces.

Tourism is expected to increase with the arrival of more tourists to Cebu.

Gamboa said the retail industry in Cebu would also be strong with the recent opening of more commercial centers and malls.

The IT and Business Process Outsourcing will also see expansion not just to customer service but with skilled services catering to specialized clients.

Edited by Lzb

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