Philip­pines’ out­look pos­i­tive in short term

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

MANILA: The Philip­pines’ eco­nomic growth could ex­ceed the World Bank’s pro­jec­tion of 6.2% for the next two years if Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s ad­min­is­tra­tion fur­ther ramps up in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing as planned, the lender said yes­ter­day.

But the three-month-old gov­ern­ment faces pol­icy chal­lenges or risks, such as the need to dis­pel lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty about its pol­icy pri­or­i­ties, de­liver on its fis­cal re­form pro­gramme, and ac­cel­er­ate struc­tural re­forms to re­duce poverty, it said.

“The Philip­pines’ short-term growth prospects re­main pos­i­tive de­spite a num­ber of medium-term risks and pol­icy chal­lenges,” the World Bank said in its Philip­pine Eco­nomic Up­date.

The bank kept its 2016 gross do­mes­tic prod­uct growth fore­cast for the Philip­pines un­changed at 6.4% and de­scribed its 6.2% growth pro­jec­tion for 2017 and 2018 as “a con­ser­va­tive fore­cast with sig­nif­i­cant up­side risks”.

World Bank econ­o­mist Bir­git Hansl told a me­dia brief­ing that re­cent volatil­ity in lo­cal fi­nan­cial mar­kets was nor­mal be­cause lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty over the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­form agenda could be ex­pected to make in­vestors cau­tious.

“That’s why it’s such an im­por­tant short­term pol­icy pri­or­ity to dis­pel the un­cer­tainty, to just say, ‘look, we mean busi­ness, this is what we’re go­ing to do’,” she said. – Reuters

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