Economist sees PHL economy to outpace Asia’s growth this year till 2020

MANILA- Trend growth of the Philippine economy is projected to rise to around 6.5 percent by 2020 as the economy is seen to outpace growth in Asia.

"Philippines growth story to remain in Asia," Chidu Narayanan, Standard Chartered economist for Asia, said in a briefing Wednesday.

For 2016, the economist eyes a 6.9 percent growth for the domestic economy, near the upper end of the government's six to seven percent growth target.

In the first three quarters of 2016, average growth stood at 6.9 percent. The government is scheduled to report the last quarter and full year 2016 economic performance on Thursday.

Domestic growth is seen to be driven by robust domestic consumption and the programmed increase in infrastructure investments.

For 2017 to 2020, Narayanan projects growth to be at 6.7 percent, 6.5 percent, 6.4 percent, and 6.2 percent, respectively, with the declining figures attributed to base effect.

He said the 6.7 percent forecast gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2017 alone, was "still fairly optimistic" and would remain, making the country among the strongest in the region.

He, however, said risks from the deteriorating current account surplus, weakness of the peso, and impact of external developments are seen to hamper domestic growth.

The country's current account position has been in surplus for more than a decade now, boosted by inflows of remittances and earnings of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.

Narayanan expects the current account to remain in surplus due mainly to rising BPO sector revenues.

BPO revenues are seen to increase by 16 percent in 2016 to around USD24 billion.

Cash inflows from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), meanwhile, posted a 5.2 percent increase in end-November 2016 to about USD24.34 billion.

The central bank's 2016 remittance growth projection was a rise of four percent. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency