GDP growth shows PH resiliency

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The 7.2-percent expansion of the Philippine economy in 2013 supports the assessment that the country has kept its strength and resiliency despite the negative impact of natural calamities and external risks, monetary officials said on Thursday.

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“Full-year GDP [gross domestic product]at 7.2-percent exceeded market expectations and the government target of 6 percent to 7 percent. Growth above 7 percent reinforces our assessment that the fundamental strength of the economy is intact,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said following the release of the 2013 national accounts data.

Tetangco also assured that the central bank will continue to monitor developments in the country, including any “noise” from temporary domestic financial market volatility, adding that the BSP will “act as appropriate to ensure inflation expectations remain well-anchored.”

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that the 7.2-percent 2013 GDP growth demonstrates the resilience of the country despite a slew of natural calamities that hit the nation in the last quarter of 2013.

“The Philippines continues to be the second fastest growing economy in Asia, after China, with its strengthening BPO [business process outsourcing]and tourism sectors. The country’s current account surplus averages 4.3 percent of GDP in the last eight years, $83.8 billion in reserves as of December 2013, compared the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] average of 2.5 percent,” Purisima said.

The Finance secretary further said that the strong fourth quarter and annual 2013 growth also showed the ability of the Philippine economy to weather challenges such as natural calamities, because of its strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

However, Purisima said that the socio-economic and fiscal impacts of calamities such as Super Typhoon Yolanda stress the urgency of preparing the country against the adverse effects of climate change.

“Moving forward, our efforts in disaster risk management will include increasing microinsurance coverage, stimulating infrastructure development, maximizing the participation of local government units in funding, and providing a fiscal buffer against large-scale disaster responses,” he noted.

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