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November 25, 2008

Philippines expects Q3 GDP growth to hit 3.8-4.6%
The Philippine economy likely expanded 3.8 to 4.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter on weak exports and as high inflation dampened private consumption, Reuters quoted a senior government official as saying Monday.

The government will announce official third quarter growth data on Thursday at 0200 GMT.

"Even with the lower expectation, we're still within target," Dennis Arroyo, head of the policy planning group at the National Economic and Development Authority, told reporters.

The government has cut its forecast for full-year growth to 4.1 to 4.8 percent from a revised 4.4 to 4.9 percent estimate made last month and against a 31-year high of 7.2 percent in 2007 as external demand eases due to the worst financial crisis in decades and as consumers scrimp on spending.

The economy grew 4.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier and 4.7 percent in January to March.

The central bank said last week the economy was resilient enough despite the global financial crisis and could absorb the impact of authorities' decision not to cut interest rates for a second month in a row.

Inflation peaked in August at 12.5 percent but remained at double digit levels in September and October.

The agriculture and fishery sector probably grew from 3 to 3.3 percent, industry by 3.9 to 4.8 percent, and services 4.1 to 4.9 percent in the July to September quarter from a year earlier, Arroyo said.

Agriculture and fishery expanded 4.9 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, industry by 4.8 percent and services 4.3 percent in the same period.

The government has previously said annual growth in the third quarter would likely be the slowest for any three-month period this year, with the economy expected to be supported by Christmas holiday-related spending in the fourth quarter.

Analysts said higher government spending on infrastructure and social services in the third quarter may partly offset anaemic export growth with demand from the country's key trading partners like the United States weaker.

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