Industry sector decelerates in 2013

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The country’s industry sector slowed in 2013 despite the double-digit growths posted by the manufacturing sector, which was said to be one of the drivers of the “remarkable” 7.2-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth last year.

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Data from state-run statistical body Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) showed that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.3 percent for the entire 2013, compared to the 5.5 percent in 2012.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the sector was the “frontrunner” for the country’s GDP growth throughout the year, increasing up to 20 percent for the monthly manufacturing volume or the volume of production index (VoPi).

“Industry contributed 2.8 percentage points to the total GDP growth. As the leading growth driver of the industry sector, manufacturing contributed 2.8 percentage points to the sector,” the PSA said.

But the state-run statistical body said that industry growth was weighed down by the declines of the rest of industry segments such as construction; mining and quarrying; and electricity, gas and water supply, resulting in an 8.4-percent industry growth in full-year 2013 compared to the 8.9-percent growth a year ago.

Mining and quarrying declined by 10.4 percent from the 2.8-percent growth in 2012, while construction went down by 0.8 percent compared to previous year’s 29.9-percent growth. Electricity, gas and water supply recorded a 2.5-percent growth from the 3.4 percent in 2012.

Balisacan, also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, said that manufacturing still grew as chemical-producing units grew significantly by 124.5 percent in the fourth quarter, and 133.5 percent in third quarter 2013.

“For the full-year 2013, manufacturing grew significantly by 10.5 percent, maintaining a growth rate of above 9.5 percent since the first quarter of 2013. Manufacturing continues to get a boost from related sectors and a growing export demand,” he added.

According to VoPi data throughout 2013, the production capacity growth of the country reached 10 percent to 20 percent on a monthly basis, with the exception of the 0.1-percent revised manufacturing growth in March 2013.

With the much optimism on the sector, Balisacan noted that the economic performance of the year would be driven mostly by the manufacturing sector, infrastructure and government spending—mainly factoring in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the Visayas for areas struck by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

University of Santo Tomas economist Alvin Ang agreed, saying that 2014 GDP would grow by 7 percent, because of the strong manufacturing sector and public spending from Yolanda reconstruction efforts.

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