NEDA expects Philippine economy to grow faster in Q2

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine economy in the 2nd quarter of 2017 is expected to expand faster than the 1st quarter's 6.4% growth, and could even hit close to 7%, thanks to robust growth in exports and agriculture, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

"I think it will approach 7%. If you look at leading indicators, the 2nd quarter I think will be better [than the 1st quarter]," Pernia said.

"[The growth drivers include] exports, and also agriculture is improving," he added.

The Philippine economy's performance in the 1st quarter was weaker than expected, with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expecting a figure around 6.5% to 7.5%.

Despite a recovery in agriculture and robust growth in exports, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew slower to 6.4% in the first 3 months of 2017, a decline from the 6.6% growth during the 4th quarter of 2016 and 6.8% in the 1st quarter of 2016, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said last month.

Pernia said this can be explained by the base effects, as growth last year was high due to election spending.

The NEDA chief, however, expects the midpoint of the 6.5% to 7.5% to be achieved for the full-year growth. (READ: Solaire reports booking cancellations after Resorts World attack)

"The World Bank expects the Philippine economy to grow by 6.9% this year, while the International Monetary Fund forecasts 6.8%. So we should be able to achieve that this year," Pernia said.

He also noted that the Marawi siege and the Resorts World Manila attack will not have lasting impact on tourism and the economy as a whole.

"These are very short-lived, ephemeral, passing incidents. It's not something that's really going to have an impact. Those are temporary jitters, [and are expected to] dissipate." –