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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        1 January 2011

Philippine economy on fastest pace in 24 years

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The Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace in 2010 since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, expanding 7.3 percent due to strong domestic demand fueled by the billions of dollars overseas Filipino workers sent home.

Government data showed gross domestic product (GDP) - the total value of goods and services produced in the country - rose a seasonally adjusted 3 percent in the final quarter of 2010, more than double market expectations and a turnaround of a third-quarter contraction.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said the strong performance of the Philippine economy - coming off growth of just 0.9 percent in 2009 - was achieved on the back of the world recovery from the global financial crisis.

"The global economic recovery which resulted in record growth rates of foreign trade  contributed to an economic performance in 2010 that well surpassed the government's target of 5 percent to 6 percent," the NSCB said.

Also boosting growth were higher remittances from the millions of Filipinos working abroad and the extra money that was pumped into the economy by politicians who campaigned in the national and local elections held in the middle of last year.

"Remittances have been pretty healthy and that has really helped to support private consumption in the Philippines," said HSBC economist Sherman Chan. Remittances from overseas Filipino workers are expected to top US$20 billion this year.

The NSCB said industry delivered its best seasonally adjusted quarterly growth in at least 15 years, rising 6.7 percent in October to December from the previous three months, with food manufacturers and mining leading the way.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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