GDP posts ‘remarkable 7.2% in 2013

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The Philippine economy grew “remarkably” in 2013, with the gross domestic product (GDP) for the entire year at 7.2 percent, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan reported Thursday.

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The GDP outpaced the 6.8 percent posted in 2012, Balisacan said.

The fourth quarter GDP was 6.5 percent, down from 7.1 percent in the same period the year before. Balisacan attributed the drop to damage left by Typhoon Yolanda in November.

“The economy grew better than our expected target of 6 percent to 7 percent for 2013 despite the challenges we faced during the year, particularly the disasters that struck Central and Southern Philippines in the fourth quarter,” he said.

Balisacan, who is the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the fourth quarter growth would have hit 7 percent to 7.3 percent were it not for Yolanda and other calamities the country suffered.

“Nonetheless, the Philippines remains as one of the best performing economies in the Asian region in the fourth quarter of 2013, second only to China, which grew by 7.7 percent,” he said.

The GDP was buoyed by sustained consumer spending and increased investments, Balisacan said.

The services and industry sectors continued to be drivers of growth.

The services sector rose by 3.6 percentage points to 7.2 percent, industry gained 2.8 percentage points and agriculture 0.1 percentage point.

“Fourth quarter growth on the supply side was mainly propelled by manufacturing, trade, finance, and real estate,” the PSA said in a statement.

The 6.5 percent expansion of the services sector in the fourth quarter “was driven largely by the strong demand for communications, land and air transportation, and storage and services incidental to transport.

“Increased air traffic in Q4 2013 was due to the additional flights and destination of the country’s leading airlines, and number of passengers and cargo for tourism and for relief operations after super typhoon Yolanda,” the PSA said.

Balisacan said manufacturing rose by 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter and 10.5 percent for the entire year.

He said manufacturing could benefit from the depreciation of the peso to P44 to P45.

Balisacan said construction and government spending had the “highest setback,” slipping by 0.8 percent and 5.2 percent.

KRISTYN NIKA LAZO

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