• IMF and ADB to give PH higher growth forecast

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    Multilateral institutions Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are set to revise upward their growth outlooks on the Philippine economy to reflect the country’s strong third quarter gross domestic product (GDP).

    The Philippine GDP exceeded expectations in July to September, accelerating by 7.1 percent from a revised 6.2 percent a year earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported on Thursday, citing data from the statistics office.

    It said the country was the fastest growing Asian emerging economy among those that have released third-quarter data so far.

    ADB economist Aekopol Chongvilaivan said the lender’s current 6.4 percent growth outlook for the country may no longer apply to the Philippine growth prospects.

    “We are planning to revise upward our outlook to probably 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent for 2016,” he said during an economic forum organized by Center for Philippine Futuristics on Friday.

    Meanwhile, the IMF noted the third quarter GDP was led by a recovery in agriculture and continued strength in private consumption and gross investment.

    ‘[It] was faster than anticipated than in our 6.4 percent growth forecast for 2016,” Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, IMF resident representative to the Philippines, told The Manila Times in response to an e-mailed query on Friday.

    He pointed out the IMF will mostly likely be revising its Philippine growth forecast in its next round of revisions for the world economic outlook.

    The government has set a GDP growth goal of 6 percent to 7 percent for the whole of 2016, from the actual 5.8 percent recorded in 2015.

    The economy only needs to grow by at least 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter to hit the low-end target of 6 percent, and by 6.9 percent to reach 7 percent, according to the NEDA.

    ADB’s Chongvilaivan said the Manila-based lender is set to upgrade its 2017 forecast to incorporate the impact of next year’s national budget on the economy.

    The ADB plans to revise its outlook “somewhere between 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent for 2017,” he said. The Manila-based lender has forecasted a GDP growth of 6.2 percent for next year.

    “The reason why we plan to revise 2017 upward is because we also expect the P3.35 trillion 2017 budget to be approved. We know that it is very challenging to spend this amount by agencies, but we expect the significant increase in infrastructure spending next year,” he said.

    “Therefore, the growth next year will remain robust and the Philippine economy will continue to be strong,” he added.

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