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February 26, 2008

PHILIPPINES/ECONOMY
Growth likely to slow down

The growth rate for Philippine economy will slow down to 5.6 percent this year from 7.3 last year due to global economic slowdown, but will remain dynamic, local daily Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted the Credit Suisse investment bank as forecasting.

The Swiss bank said in an assessment report that the Philippines would not be immune from a volatile external environment considering that it has the United States and Japan as its biggest export markets, according to the report.

The bank, however, does not consider the anticipated slowdown a major problem for the country and said that growing remittances from overseas Filipino workers are expected to stimulate the home economy.

"We expect remittances to continue growing in 2008, albeit at as lower rate than that in 2007, owing to the boom in the Middle East, which hosts the largest number of overseas Filipino workers," Credit Suisse was quoted as saying.

Apart from overseas remittances, Credit Suisse said momentum in domestic demand is also strong thanks to "accelerating consumption and investment, and historically low credit risk premiums and local interest rates," according to the report.

Overseas remittances amounted to $14 billion last year, helping domestic consumption to grow by 6 percent, said government statistics.


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