PHL 3rd fastest growing economy in Asia in Q1
The Philippine economy grew by 5.7% in the first quarter of the year, making it the third-fastest among major economies in Asia, next to China’s 7.4% and Malaysia’s 6.2%.
The services and industry sectors, which expanded by 6.8% and 5.5%, respectively, fuelled the first-quarter growth, National Statistician and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Head Lisa Grace S. Bersales said.
“Among the three major economic sectors, services made the highest contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2014 contributing 3.8 percentage points followed by industry with 1.8 percentage points, and the whole agriculture sector with 0.1 percentage point,” Bersales added.
Hurt by the impact of Super Typhoon Yolanda last year, the first-quarter GDP growth is below the 6.3-% growth posted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the 7.7% posted in the same period last year – the highest quarterly growth rate achieved in the Aquino administration.
“Although growth is not as strong, it’s still robust. Capital formation and investments are expected to be stronger,” Standard Chartered in Singapore Regional Research for Asia Head David Mann said.
The government saw the “urgency” of speeding up typhoon reconstruction efforts in the disaster-stricken areas, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
Hefty spending on major roads, bridges, and other projects is also seen underpinning growth throughout the year, as the Aquino administration has made improving infrastructure a key part of its plans to create jobs and attract more investment.
These moves to sustain growth, along with fiscal reforms that lowered the budget deficit to a five-year low in 2013, helped the Philippines win its first investment grade ratings from all three major debt watchers last year.
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) also upgraded the country’s credit rating to two notches above investment grade last month