Philip­pine econ­omy grew 6% in 3Q as ser­vices ex­panded

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

MANILA: The Philip­pine econ­omy ex­panded 6 per­cent in the third quar­ter and of­fi­cials forecast at least the same growth rate for the full year but warned of risks from the El Nino dry spell and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in 2016. Ser­vice in­dus­tries which in­clude real es­tate and re­tail­ing were the main driver of growth in the third quar­ter, ex­pand­ing 7.3 per­cent, which was the fastest pace since 2013. Agri­cul­ture showed signs of re­cov­ery, grow­ing 0.4 per­cent com­pared with a con­trac­tion a year ear­lier.

The Philip­pines has been one of the best per­form­ing economies in Asia for sev­eral years, grow­ing at an av­er­age rate of 6.3 per­cent be­tween 2010 and 2014. De­spite in­creased gov­ern­ment ef­forts to raise liv­ing stan­dards, the coun­try still faces con­sid­er­able chal­lenges in­clud­ing its vul­ner­a­bil­ity to ty­phoons and other nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, poverty, cor­rup­tion and poor in­fra­struc­ture. Of­fi­cials said risks to the growth out­look in­clude El Nino’s ef­fect on agri­cul­ture and po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty as Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III’s six year term draws to a close. Elec­tions are set for May.

“We are con­fi­dent that af­ter five years we have laid our house with firmer foun­da­tions,” said Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Ce­sar Purisima. “But re­form is a game that has no end. In­creas­ingly we look to our next set of lead­ers to carry the work of chart­ing our fu­ture.” He said the gov­ern­ment’s 2016 bud­get will meet its goal of in­vest­ing five per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in in­fra­struc­ture. Weak­ness in the global econ­omy hurt trade in the third quar­ter. The Philip­pines posted a trade deficit of 58.8 bil­lion peso ($1.25 bil­lion) for the three months com­pared with a sur­plus of 7.3 bil­lion pe­sos ($155.3 mil­lion) a year ear­lier. Eco­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Arse­nio Bal­isacan said growth of 6 per­cent for the full year is “very likely” be­cause of an ex­pected ac­cel­er­a­tion in the fourth quar­ter. Sec­ond-quar­ter growth was re­vised to 5.8 per­cent from 5.6 per­cent. — AP

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