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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Philippines economy soars 6.9 per cent topping forecasts

Country remains one of the fastest growing in the world and is predicted to keep up momentum until at least 2019

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' president. Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg
Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' president. Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

The Philippines economy grew 6.9 per cent last quarter, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and cementing its position as one of the fastest-expanding in the world, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in Manila Thursday, after expanding a revised 6.7 per cent in the previous three months.

The median estimate of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 6.6 per cent and growth has exceeded 6 per cent for a ninth consecutive quarter

Compared with the previous quarter, GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1.3 per cent.

Consumer spending, which makes up about 70 per cent of GDP, gained 4.5 per cent from a year earlier, while government spending rose 8.3 per cent and investment increased 6.6 per cent.

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The Philippines is emerging as one of this decade’s economic stars with the World Bank predicting growth of more than 6 per cent until 2019, underpinned by an ambitious infrastructure building program and a young and growing population. The finance secretary Carlos Dominguez on Thursday said he expects faster growth in the succeeding quarters, while the central bank governor Nestor Espenilla said there are no signs of overheating in the economy.

The president Rodrigo Duterte has secured loans from China and Japan to help finance US$180 billion of spending on projects such as the capital’s first subway and a network of railways and highways across the archipelago. More than $50bn of remittances and outsourcing revenue a year is helping support consumer spending, and luring retailers such as home furnishing giant Ikea.

The central bank has so far kept interest rates at a record low but may be persuaded to tighten policy next year as currency weakness adds to pressure on inflation. The peso has dropped to an 11-year low this year but rose a seventh day to 50.895 per dollar as of noon in Manila.

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Updated: November 16, 2017 09:58 AM

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