Philippine economy grew 6.2% in Q3 - Pernia
The Philippine economy grew by 6.2 percent in the third quarter, raising government's optimism to easily reach its six percent low-end gross domestic product growth target for this year, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Thursday.
GDP growth during the third quarter of 2018 was at 6.0 percent and 5.5 percent during the second quarter of this year.
Among the major economic sectors, services posted the highest growth with 6.9 percent, followed by industry at 5.6 percent, and agriculture at 3.1 percent.
"The stronger growth in public spending in the third quarter contributed significantly to our Q3 performance," Pernia said in a press conference in a hotel in Pasig City.
With the third quarter GDP performance, year-to-date, the economic growth reached 5.8 percent, "just slightly below the lower-end of the 6.0-7.0 percent full-year 2019 growth target of the government set by the DBCC (Development Budget Coordination Committee)," Pernia said.
"This means that the Philippine economy will have to expand by at least 6.7 percent in the last quarter of the year to meet the low-end of the full-year target of 6.0-7.0 percent for 2019 - a challenge that we are confidently taking on," the government's top economist said.
Asked if the government could meet its GDP target this year, he said, "Very achievable. We have seen the economy surging and the momentum will continue for us to reach (the target)."
This was despite the recent series of earthquakes that devastated parts of Mindanao.
Pernia said those areas in southern Philippines have small contribution in the economy.
Regions XI (Davao) and XII (Soccsksargen), which were struck by the powerful tremors last month contributed only about 4.4 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, in the overall GDP, according to National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos in the same press conference.
Compared with other major emerging market economies in the region, which have already released their third quarter GDP figures, Pernia said the Philippines likely ranked second behind Vietnam's 7.3 percent but higher than China's 6 percent, India's expected third quarter growth of below 6 percent, and Indonesia's 5 percent for the period.
Pernia expressed optimism that the economy would further expand in the fourth quarter.
He cited the benign inflation outlook and more upbeat consumer confidence which are expected to stimulate consumption, especially during the Christmas season.
Pernia added that agriculture sector is expected to gain momentum due to favorable weather.
However, with the spread of the African swine fever in the country, Pernia urged the government to continue to enforce its biosecurity measures, more stringent quarantine checkpoints, provision of disinfection facilities, and intensified anti-smuggling and meat inspection efforts.
He reiterated his call to Congress to immediately pass the priority economic measures.
"To withstand external shocks and promote growth over the medium term, our country must diversify products and markets through the establishment or improvement of new and existing trade relations with strategic partners," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS