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Q4 GDP seen hitting 6.6%

The Philippine economy grew faster in the fourth quarter of the year on the back of the latest positive developments, an ING Bank economist said.

“Fourth quarter 2019 GDP (gross domestic product) to hit 6.6 percent,” ING Bank senior economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa estimated in a report released on Wednesday.

Mapa’s fourth quarter economic growth forecast compares with the 6.2 percent in the third quarter after the slower-than-expected 5.6-percent and 5.5-percent GDP expansions in the first and second.

Growth in the last quarter of 2019, the economist, said would bring full-year GDP expansion to 6 percent “on robust consumption, government catch-up spending and revitalized investment activity.”

“Fiscal spending working in tandem with additional easing from the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) will help the Philippines hit its growth targets for both 2019 and 2020, even as external headwinds threaten the global economy,” Mapa added.

For this year, the government revised downward its GDP growth target to 6 to 7 percent. It wants growth to settle within the 6.5- to 7.5-percent range for 2020.

Earlier, the government’s Economic Development Cluster announced that infrastructure and capital spending reached P628.5 billion from January to October.

“This is 73 percent of the 2019 full-year disbursement program of P859.5 billion, but 5.5 percent lower than the actual disbursements for the same period in 2018,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has said.

Infrastructure and capital spending during the same period in 2018 reached P665.1 billion.

The 10-month figure put the total national government spending — which includes expenditures for maintenance, personnel services and subsidies — at P2.93 trillion, up 5.05 percent or P141.3 billion from the amount in the same period last year.

For its part, the central bank’s policy-making Monetary Board has so far implemented a combined 75-basis-point interest rate cut in May, August and September. This brought overnight borrowing, lending and deposit rates to 4 percent, 4.50 percent and 3.50 percent, respectively.

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