STANDARD Chartered Bank said brisk growth in the construction and services sectors likely pushed Philippine economic growth to above 6 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier.
Jeff Ng, StanChart Asia economist, said gross domestic product (GDP) growth may have retained a “healthy” pace of 6.3 percent in the first three months compared with the revised 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter and 5.6 percent in the first quarter of last year.
“Growth was likely supported by a strong pick-up in the construction sector and steady growth in the services sector,” Ng said in a Market Research Update released on Wednesday.
The economist expects construction to show double-digit growth for a third consecutive quarter in January to March 2015.
Services growth, on the other hand, was likely aided by rising demand for business services and financial services, although growth in wholesale/retail trade services may have eased in the three-month period, he added.
The StanChart economist, however, noted that manufacturing growth likely slowed during the period as the average monthly industrial production in the first quarter inched up by only 0.1 percent compared to faster growth of 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“We continue to expect the strong domestic economy to support GDP growth, despite some headwinds to external demand,” he concluded.
Estimates for first-quarter GDP growth by other private economists ranged between 6 percent and 7.3 percent.
The official GDP figure for the first quarter is set to be released today, Thursday.