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August 19, 2008

Philippines slashes growth forecast on inflation worries
The Philippines has cut its 2008 growth target to 5.5-6.4 percent from an earlier 5.7-6.6 percent range due to the likely negative impact of higher inflation on consumption, Reuters quoted a senior government official as saying Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian nation has revised down this year's economic growth target at least twice this year as it continues to assess the impact of weaker demand from its main trading partners and high food and fuel costs on the economy.

The latest revision, made earlier this month, followed an upward adjustment by the central bank of its 2008 inflation forecast to 9-11 percent from 7-9 percent, said Undersecretary Gil Beltran at the Department of Finance.

In June, the International Monetary Fund said it had cut its 2008 gross domestic product growth forecast for the Philippines to 5.2 percent from 5.8 percent due to slowing external demand and softening consumption.

The Asian Development Bank was more optimistic and predicted last month that the Philippine economy would grow 5.5 percent this year with the help of healthy domestic demand.

The Philippine economy expanded by 7.2 percent in 2007, which was a 31-year record.

The central bank has said economic growth of 5-6 percent this year would be deemed respectable given current conditions of high inflation, slower export demand and a dip in spending and private investment.

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