Philippine Economic Growth Eases In First Quarter Of 2017

19 May, 2017, 06:45 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Reuters

The government on Thursday released the official GDP data, which showed that growth in the first quarter of 2017 slowed from 6.9 percent recorded a year ago and the previous quarter's 6.6 percent.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told Reuters in January he expected annual growth in the first quarter to be between 6.5-7.0 percent, or even higher, as the government committed to ramp up infrastructure spending.

Gross domestic product had grown 6.6% in the previous quarter.

The Philippine Statistics Authority and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported yesterday a lower-than-expected GDP growth of 6.4 percent.

"The growth-inflation dynamics still suggest that policy tightening remains in the offing", Gundy Cahyadi, economist at DBS in Singapore said.

However, the performance of the economy for the first quarter of 2017 is below the 6.5 to 7.5 percent target for 2017.

Agriculture growth accelerated to 4.9%.

Exports of goods also grew by 22.3 percent, the fastest rate since the third quarter of 2010, Pernia noted.

Services-accounting for about half of GDP-rose 6.8% from a year earlier, while the industrial sector expanded 6.1%.

Pernia said to sustain the growth momentum of exports, it is important to ease government regulation, strengthen market intelligence gathering with the help of the private sector, and maximize trade agreements and economic groupings, especially with our Asean neighbors.

Pernia credited Philippine economy's performance during the period to the "recalibration" of government programs and a "changing of the guards", coupled with healthy election-related spending.

Mr Pernia said the slowdown could be explained by the absence of election spending, which boosted growth a year earlier.

"It is important to ensure that government spending for both consumption and investment remains within the fiscal program, which is critical to sustain the growth momentum", he said.


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