• ADB still sees 7% growth

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    The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) still sees robust Philippine economic growth this year despite the damages brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda to the country’s infrastructure and agricultural industry.

    On the sidelines of the event of the opening session of the Trilateral Commission Asia Pacific Group, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth may still expand by 7 percent or at the higher end of the government’s 6-percent to 7-percent target.

    Nakao noted that the ADB retained its growth projection for the Philippines as first published in the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) in October.

    “Compared to the number in the beginning of October we didn’t adjust it downward. Even with the Typhoon Yolanda we didn’t change the number for this year and next year,” he said.

    The ADB president said that the impact of the typhoon to the agricultural industry was offset by the “very strong” domestic demand in the country, which prompted higher-than-expected growth rate in the past quarters.

    The domestic economy grew by 7 percent in the third quarter of 2013 from 7.3 percent recorded the previous year, boosting the 2013 first-nine months growth to 7.4 percent from 6.7 percent last year. Meanwhile, Nakao said that reconstruction efforts in the country after the typhoon could result in a 6.1-percent GDP growth for the Philippines by 2014.

    “For the next year, we can expect that the reconstruction returns. You know the mechanism of GDP, it’s about production, investments. There were losses of facilities, highways and houses and so on. GDP is for new products so if we start reconstruction it would have an impact on GDP,” he said.

    On the other hand, Nakao mentioned that the Manila-based lender is considering giving an additional $350-million loan for the Philippines. He said that the government requested the additional loan to rebuild the communities affected by the super typhoon.

    “[Our decision will come] quite soon. We are considering giving additional $350 million by the end of the year,” he added.

    Nakao also noted that the additional loan is on top of the original $500-million emergency loan that the ADB recently approved for the rehabilitation of the typhoon-affected areas.

    He added that a $3-million grant for the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund has already been disbursed, while another $20-million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty reduction will be made available this December.

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