GDP growth surpasses expectations

GDP growth surpasses expectations

The Philippine economy posted a growth rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a revised growth of 4.9 percent in the same period last year prompting the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to expect that the full year 2012 real GDP growth rate projection of 5.0 to 6.0 percent is well within reach, or may even be exceeded.

NEDA reported that growth was driven by the services and industry sectors on the supply side and by net exports, household final consumption expenditure, and government consumption on the demand side.

Growth for the quarter was supported by accelerated government spending (including for infrastructure and CCT spending), low prices which supported household consumption, better-than-anticipated exports performance, continued credit expansion, continued robustness of remittances, expansion in the tourism sector, increased business and consumer confidence, and an overall buoyant domestic economic outlook. The recovery from a sluggish 3.7 percent growth for the whole of 2011 also reflects a renewed business confidence in the Philippines.

The NEDA also said the Philippines posted the highest growth among ASEAN and other neighboring countries except China.

Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the growth benefited from a low inflation rate boosted by the revitalized services sector, particularly trade and other services. Balisacan also stressed the government will not let up in its efforts to accelerate the growth of the economy.

There is still considerable room for faster acceleration in government spending. Also, the government will remain vigilant on the risks to growth, including those posed by the Euro Area woes and the uncertainties in the world price of oil, Balisacan added.