The Philippine economy as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP) likely grew by 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, within range of the government’s 6.5-7.5 percent growth target, Moody’s Analytics said in a report released Friday.
The forecast figure is slightly faster than the 6.5 percent growth recorded in the last quarter of 2013.
Data show that the “opening quarter of 2014 has been quite robust, on average” and that “industrial production has slowed but both exports and imports accelerated,” Moody’s Analytics said.
“Our model suggests a modest acceleration in GDP growth from the fourth quarter,” it added.
Moody’s Analytics noted that economic expansion decelerated in the final quarter of last year from the 7.1 percent recorded in the previous quarter due to the impact of national disasters on the economy and slower spending and investments.
These disasters include the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the province of Bohol and affected the entire Central Visayas in October last year, and Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) that struck Eastern Visayas the following month.
But even with the slower expansion in the last quarter of 2013, the full-year GDP output still surpassed expectations after hitting 7.2 percent, higher than the six to seven percent target of the government.
Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said he expects the economy to post faster growth in the first quarter of this year than it did in the previous quarter. However, he declined to give any figures.
Moody’s Analytics growth forecast for Asia for 2014 is broadly unchanged, although weak first-quarter data have accentuated downside risks.
“GDP growth for the full year will be below potential, particularly if the first quarter undershoots, but we expect growth to accelerate in the third quarter, nearing potential rates in most of the region by year’s end,” it stated.
The research firm also said it expects regional growth to be near 5 percent in the second half of 2014, from just above 4 percent in the opening half, with most economies reaching their potential growth rates in 2015.
Moody’s Analytics is a division of Moody’s Corp. and provides expertise in economic and consumer credit analysis, credit research and risk measurement, enterprise risk management and structured analytics and valuation.