PH stocks fall on GDP slowdown

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Philippine shares were badly hit by news of a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter, way below market expectations of at least 6 percent.

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The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index closed at 7.505.03 points, down 93.67 points or 1.23 percent. The All-Shares index lost 42.4 points or 0.97 percent to finish at 4,324.79.

The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier in the day released figures showing gross domestic product (GDP) grew only 5.2 percent in the first three months of 2015, far too short of bank and IMF economist forecasts of between 6 percent and 7.3 percent.

The official first-quarter figure also showed a loss of momentum from the revised 6.6 percent growth in the preceding quarter and the 5.6 percent rise recorded in the year-earlier period.

“I guess GDP [had]one of those rare misses, below everyone’s forecast. According to estimates, the consensus is at 6 percent, and [the 5.2 percent growth outcome]is very underwhelming,” Luis Limlingan, Regina Capital Development Corp. managing director, said in a brief phone interview.

“I think public spending will have to be firing record levels in the next few quarters for the government to reach its full-year target of 7 percent to 8 percent GDP growth,” he added.

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