Philip­pine econ­omy loses steam in Q1

New Straits Times - - Business -

MANILA: The Philip­pine econ­omy grew at its slow­est pace in more than a year in the first quar­ter, but re­silient ex­ports and strong con­sumer spend­ing was likely to keep mo­men­tum buoy­ant this year.

The pace was the weak­est for the South­east Asian econ­omy since the last quar­ter of 2015, but the govern­ment said the econ­omy was “broadly in line” to grow within its tar­get of 6.5-7.5 per cent for the year.

Gross do­mes­tic prod­uct grew 6.4 per cent in Jan­uary-March from a year ear­lier, govern­ment data showed yes­ter­day, be­low mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions.

The Philip­pine Statis­tics Author­ity re­vised growth in Oc­to­ber-De­cem­ber 2015 to 6.3 per cent from 6.7 per cent.

Econ­o­mists had fore­cast the econ­omy to ex­pand 6.8 per cent from a year ear­lier com­pared with 6.6 per cent in the last three months of last year.

“The Philippines re­mains one of the strong­est per­form­ers among ma­jor emerg­ing economies in Asia,” said Eco­nomic Plan­ning sec­re­tary Ernesto Per­nia, adding that the first quar­ter’s pace was only sec­ond to China’s 6.9 per cent clip. In­dia has not re­leased first-quar­ter data.

The econ­omy grew a sea­son­ally ad­justed 1.1 per cent from the pre­vi­ous three months, less than the 1.5 per cent fore­cast in a poll and the slow­est in eight quar­ters.

To sus­tain the econ­omy’s growth mo­men­tum and en­sure its ef­fects are more broadly felt, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has promised to spend US$180 bil­lion (RM774 bil­lion) over six years to build and mod­ernise rail­ways, air­ports, sea­ports and roads, a vi­tal sec­tor for the econ­omy. Reuters

BLOOMBERG PIC

Econ­o­mists had fore­cast the econ­omy to ex­pand 6.8 per cent from a year ear­lier com­pared with 6.6 per cent in the last three months of last year.

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