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February 24, 2009

Philippines expects 4% growth in 2009

The Philippine economy can expand about 4 percent this year, weaker than last year's 4.6 percent, underpinned by farm and services sectors, Reuters quoted the socio-economic planning chief as saying Monday.

"There is a bias that we will still grow by 4 percent," Ralph Recto told reporters.

The government's current forecast for growth is 3.7 percent to 4.7 percent. Recto said the high-end of the range might be cut, but he doubted there would be any change to the low end of the range.




"I don't expect growth forecasts to be dramatically reduced," Recto said.

Recto said a budget deficit of 2 percent of GDP this year, equivalent to 160 to 170 billion pesos ($3.3-3.5 billion), would be a "comfortable level."

The government has said it was likely to exceed its 2009 fiscal deficit target of 102 billion pesos, or 1.2 percent of GDP, as it raises spending on infrastructure and social services to boost domestic demand.

Manila is currently reviewing its macroeconomic growth forecasts for 2009 and may announce the revisions on Wednesday during an investors' briefing.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund forecast 2009 growth for the Philippines at 2.25 percent.
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