PHL economy seen to grow 6.5% to 7% in 2016

The Philippine economy will likely grow close to 7 percent in the fourth quarter, bringing the full-year growth to the high-end of the government's target for the year.

"I would say quite safely that it (2016 growth) would be between 6.5 percent and 7 percent (or) maybe even on the high-end of that range," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto M. Pernia in a media briefing.

Pernia is optimistic about surpassing growth target of 6 to 7 percent for 2016 after GDP accelerated 7 percent in the first three quarters, making the Philippines still one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

He said GDP was projected to grow about 7 percent in October to December quarter.

"Drivers are public spending, exports are picking up, consumption is still strong especially the coming holidays. On the supply side, agriculture is expected to improve because of the rains; manufacturing is also picking up," he added.

Pernia also expects the Philippines to sustain its growth momentum next year and 2018 despite risks, with GDP growing 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent and 7 percent to 8 percent, respectively.

"All things considered, our economy's continuing strong growth, decreasing poverty, lower unemployment rates, and new foreign investments this year are all good signs of things to come," he noted.

The NEDA chief identified risks to sustaining growth, including the Federal Reserve's plan for a rate increase, the slow revival in the eurozone economy, the slowing China growth rate and weather disturbances.

"But on the other hand, we are supposed to be getting a lot of infusion in terms of infrastructure investment from China assuming that they come forward in terms of their promises and commitments," he said.

Pernia noted that sustained and deepened reforms are important to support economic growth.

These include the comprehensive tax reform program being finalized by the Department of Finance, sustained investments in infrastructure, easing of restrictions on foreign investments, reduction of cost of doing business and the fully implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency