DBCC may lower GDP growth target; revise upward inflation forecast for 2018, says Diokno
The government may lower its economic growth target and revise its inflation assumption higher for this year, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday.
In an interview following his regular weekly forum in Pasig City, the Department of Budget and Management chief said given the higher-than-target inflation from January to August lower gross domestic product growth for the first half, he said there is a "high" possibility of revising the forecasts.
"It's 7 to 8 (percent GDP target), so the likelihood that it might be revised below 7 (percent) is quite high," he said.
The GDP growth during the first two quarters were 6.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, average inflation from January to August hit 4.8 percent, way above the target of 2-4 percent and 4-4.5 percent forecast for this year.
Diokno said the Development Budget Coordination Committee, which he chairs, is set to meet later this month to discuss the recent economic developments.
"The current (inflation) number will be changed, the 4 to 4.5 percent," he said.
The inflation in August rose to 6.4 percent year-on-year, the highest in nine years.
According to Diokno, the kick in inflation could be attributed to high prices of rice and fish, among others.
He expressed hope prices of rice would stabilize as it is harvest season.
Diokno is also banking on the passage of the rice tarrification bill by Congress.
He said the contribution of rice prices in inflation is about 0.7 percent.
"We are doing something about it. The tarrification, the sooner that's done, the better. I think that should be a wake-up call for policymakers. They cannot take their easy time. There's a bill pending in Congress for tariffication," Diokno said. Celerina Monte/DMS