The 5.2-percent increase in gross domestic product recorded in the first quarter of 2015 could mark the slowest quarterly pace of economic growth this year, a monetary policy official at the central bank said on Thursday.
“Hopefully the first quarter [growth]will be the floor, but that’s only my assessment,” Francisco Dakila Jr., managing director at the Monetary Policy Sub-Sector of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) told reporters on Thursday.
The first-quarter GDP rate slowed from 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and fell short of the government’s 7 percent to 8 percent target range this year.
However, Dakila pointed to solid demand that indicates sustained Philippine economic growth during the rest of the year, as mentioned in the Second Quarter 2015 Inflation Report by the BSP.
According to the report, vehicle sales in the first two months of the second quarter grew 17.8 percent year-on-year from 21.8 percent recorded in the first quarter.
“The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. attributed continued growth in car sales to robust consumer demand that is bolstered by attractive financing schemes and introduction of new car models by industry players,” the report said.
On the other hand, the composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) remained firmly above 50 points at 57.1 in April 2015. Levels above 50 indicate expansion while levels below it indicate contraction.
Meanwhile, the average capacity utilization of the manufacturing sector was broadly steady at 83.2 percent in April from 83.5 percent a month earlier.