THE Philippine economy will likely hit – and could even exceed – the 6.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) forecast of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for 2018, the country’s chief economist said on Thursday.
In a news conference in Malacañang, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines could outpace the ADB’s revised forecast, which was the “lower range” of the government’s target for 2017.
“It is quite possible. In fact, it’s probable that we can exceed that lower end of our target… Well, 6.5 percent is the lower range of our target. Our target for this year is 6.5 to 7.5 percent. So that seems to be logical,” said Pernia, who heads the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“You know, international agencies, international organizations – private or government – tend to be a bit more conservative than the government itself. We are setting higher targets because we want to exert more effort to achieve the targets,” he added.
The Philippine government targets GDP growth for the entire year to be within the range of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent, following a 6.8-percent expansion in 2016, considered among the fastest Asia.
In its 2017 Asian Development Outlook report released on Thursday, the Manila-based multilateral lender upgraded its growth outlook in developing Asia from 5.7 percent to 5.9 percent in 2017 and from 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent for 2018.
“Developing Asia is off to a good start this year with improved exports pushing growth prospects for the rest of 2017,” said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB’s chief economist. “Despite lingering uncertainties surrounding the strength of the global recovery, we feel that the region’s economies are well-placed to face potential shocks to the outlook.”
The report said growth projections for Southeast Asia were expected to remain at 4.8 percent in 2017 and 5.0 percent in 2018, with accelerating growth for Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
“Robust domestic demand — particularly private consumption and investment — will continue to support growth in the subregion,” the report added.