PH economy is just starting to recover from pandemic blows – Lopez
MANILA, Philippines — The Philipines economy is just starting to recover from the blows it has had to endure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Wednesday during the pre-recorded televised Cabinet briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lopez noted that the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) has been gradually recovering negative growth — from -16.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020, to -11.4 percent in the third quarter, and -8.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
“The line has gone up. The previous minus-16 became minus-11 and then minus-eight. Hopefully, it will continue to increase until it becomes a positive growth,” he said in Filipino.
Lopez also noted improvements in the unemployment rate — from 17.7 percent in April, 10 percent in July, and 8.7 percent in October last year to 6.4 percent in January this year.
The country’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index also posted improving figures, according to Lopez.
“The sign here is anything above 50 means that the manufacturing sector is growing. At the height of the lockdown, the figures are at 31.6. So it was low. But now it’s at 52.5,” he said.
“That’s one sign the figure is increasing — that we are making gains in manufacturing. This is what creates our products,” he added.
He also said that the exports industry also posed positive growth in September and November last year.
“So the economy is continuously and slowly recovering. It started to reopen last July. So we saw improvements,” he said.
Lopez also noted that the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped even as the country reopened its economy — until the renewed surge in cases in March this year.
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