• PH economy seen to maintain momentum

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    The Philippine economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), will maintain the growth it recorder last year, according to Moody’s Analytics.

    Reports said that in a regional outlook, Moody’s Analytics projected that the Philippine economy may expand at 6.6 percent in 2013.

    The said projection was similar to the country’s overall growth in 2012, which surpassed the government’s 5-percent to 6-percent target for the year.

    Moody’s Analytics’ forecast was also within the 6-percent to 7-percent growth range set by the Development and Budget Coordination Committee for 2013.

    Meanwhile, First Metro Investment Corp. and the University of Asia and the Pacific Capital Markets Research shared the same view, as they maintained their growth forecast for the country this year despite the slow performance of some indicators.

    The think tank earlier said that the Philippine economy may expand close to 7 percent on the first quarter of 2013.

    “The economy emitted mixed signals which may dampen hopes for faster growth in the first quarter of 2013,” the think tank said in the May issue of its newsletter The Market Call.

    The think tank cited electricity sales and exports as some of the factors that may dampen the country’s growth.

    In its data, the think tank showed that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) electricity sales in the first quarter averaged 1.1 percent only.

    “Meralco electricity sales in March unexpectedly slipped by 1.5 percent, bringing down its first-quarter 2013 growth. All three major sectors—industrial, commercial and residential—were in the red,” it stated.

    Exports, on the other hand, took a “deep dive” in February following the previously disappointing decline in January, it said.

    Weak demand for electronic products pulled down export earnings by -15.6 percent from -2.7 percent in January.

    “This defied our upbeat speculation that electronics demand would rebound given the improvement in the book-to-bill ratios of the major electronics production hubs.

    Nonetheless, the outlook may not be all that dark given the milder contraction of industrial production in advanced economies, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board,” it stated.

    However, with manageable inflation and robust government spending, the think tank said that there are no sufficient reasons to downgrade its GDP forecast for the first quarter and for the rest of the year.

    The think tank said that the headline inflation rate of 2.6 percent in April beat the market consensus of 2.8 percent, sharply dropping year-on-year from 3.2 percent in March on the back of ample food supply and lower fuel pump prices.

    “Meanwhile, government spen­ding did a bit better,” it said, noting that expenditures expanded by 12.2 percent.

    Mayvelin U. Caraballo

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