Philippine economy growth fastest in three years

The Philippines is enjoying its fastest rate of growth in three years, according to new figures.

The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that the economy grew by 6.8 per cent last year. The country’s growth was fuelled by a 6.6 per cent rise in the fourth quarter, its slowest quarter of the year, but higher than the 6.5 per cent recorded in the same period of 2015.

The growth continues to rank the Philippines as the fastest growing economy in Asia, ahead of China (6.7 per cent) and Vietnam (6.2 per cent).

The PSA says the main drivers of growth are “manufacturing, trade, and real estate, renting, and business activities”, reports CNN.

The country’s Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told the publication he expects the economy to grow by 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent in 2017, with Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia commenting: “Given this growth in 2016, we believe that the target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for 2017 is highly likely. In the medium-term, we expect growth to strengthen further towards 7 per cent to 8 per cent.”

Over the next six years, per capita income is forecast to increase by over 40 per cent by 2023, with both Dominguez and Pernia hoping to turn the country into an upper middle-income nation by 2022 – an achievement that would result in lifting around 6 million Filipinos out of poverty.


The Philippines: Asia’s fastest growing economy

29th November 2016

The Philippines has the fastest-growing economy in Asia, reveal official new figures, as investment surges in the country.

The country saw its economy expand 7.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2016, faster than China (6.7 per cent), Vietnam (6.4 per cent), Indonesia (5 per cent) and Malaysia (4.3 per cent). The figure was also the nation’s highest growth in three years, outperforming expectations from experts.

This means that over the first nine months of the year, its GDP expanded by a rapid 7 per cent, underscoring the country’s resilience to a year in which global uncertainty has been common due to many factors, from finance to politics. Indeed, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is known for being relatively outspoken about the USA, under President Obama, and has since delivered more reconciliatory speeches, congratulating Donald Trump on his election victory this month.

Regardless, forecasts are positive for the Philippine economy, with the IMF set to upgrade its prediction for the future. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also boosted its 2016 GDP forecast from 6.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent.

Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, IMF resident representative, attributes the strong Q3 performance to a recovery in agriculture and also the continued strength of private consumption and gross investment.

“The Philippine economy has performed well in recent years with rising potential growth and strong macro fundamentals. Economic growth is supported by robust domestic demand and is broadly in line with potential while the outlook for inflation is well within the target band,” the IMF said.

One industry in the country that has been particularly strong is its tourism sector, with cumulative foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines passing the 4 million mark this August for the first time. Most months of the year have seen tourist figures rise by double digits, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism, with arrivals between January and August growing 12.59 per cent compared to the same period in 2015 – taking the total number from 3.59 million to 4 million.

Investors, too, are increasingly turning to the islands, with the Philippines ranked in the Top 15 most sought-after destinations on in September for the sixth month in a row. One popular opportunity has been Portofino Ocean’s Edge Resort on the island of Carabao, which opens later this year, designed to cater to the rising level of international tourists, including Chinese visitors.