Philippine economic growth back in positive territory, exceeds 2021 target

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Source: GMA News

The Philippine economy grew at a faster pace in the last three months of 2021, bringing the full-year figure in line with the government’s target range, after the record-low seen in the previous year.

Government data released on Thursday showed that the fourth-quarter growth rate stood at 7.7%. This is faster than the downward revised 6.9% in the third quarter, but faster than the -8.3% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The latest figure is also faster than expected, both by the government and the private sector.

“This growth performance was much faster than most analyst forecasts, making the country’s expansion among the highest in the region,” economic managers said in a statement read by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua at a virtual briefing.

“This sends a strong signal that we are on track to rapid recovery despite the impact of Typhoon Odette,” he added.

Known internationally as Typhoon Rai, Odette entered the country in December and left P13.8-billion worth of damage to the agriculture sector.

Chua noted that total damage from Odette were recorded at P33.4 billion or 0.17% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Initial estimates indicate that the full-year growth was reduced by 0.05 percentage points due to the storm.

Main growth contributors for the period were manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.

All major economic sectors posted positive growth during the quarter, with agriculture up 1.4%, industry up 9.5%, services up by 7.9%.

This brought the full-year growth to 5.6%, faster than the record-low -9.6% in 2020, but slower than the 6.1% recorded in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in December raised the economic growth target for 2021 to 5% to 5.5% from the previous range of 4% to 5%.

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