NEDA sees robust 2Q growth for Philippines

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The Philippine economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is likely to remain robust in the second quarter of the year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Monday.

“The growth is going to be quite robust in the second quarter because overall, the indicators have been positive but as said, as in the past experiences, until you get all the basic data, you can’t really be quite precise and that close,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and also NEDA director general said on the sidelines of the launching of the Philippine Human Development Report.

Asked if the second-quarter growth will be higher than the 7.8 percent recorded in the first quarter, Balisacan said that, “It’s our hope but I can’t give any number until I see what those indicators are completely.”

He explained that some of the data or the economic indicators have not been released yet, so he cannot give any specific growth projection.

However, Balisacan added that of the available data, remittances, inflation rate, interest rates, exchange rates and manufacturing output recorded continued growth.

“And those reports from the business sector about their continuing confidence, those are all likely to be impacted on the second quarter,” he said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that remittances from overseas Filipino workers in May was recorded at $2.1 billion.

Inflation in the first six months of the year averaged 2.9 percent, lower than the 3-percent to 5-percent target of the BSP. Benign inflation also allowed the BSP to maintain its key policy rates.

For the year, the government is targeting a 6-percent to 7-percent GDP growth.

Meanwhile, Balisacan said that the government may have to revisit its growth target for imports and exports.

“We may have to revisit that because I think even the private sector has revised their target . . . revised downward so we have to consult with them,” he said.

From the January to May, exports contracted by 6 percent, while imports dropped 3.6 percent.

Exports growth target was at 10 percent this year, while imports are expected to expand by 12 percent in 2013.

He said that the revised target could be single digit for both, unless the other sectors in the economy like agricultural exports, agro-processed exports, will pick up sufficiently strong.

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