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15 March 2010

Philippine economy seen growing 4.5%

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A rebound in exports amid the improving global market demand will drive a 4.5-percent full-year growth in the Philippine economy, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, quoting DBS Bank.

The DBS project is higher than the government’s growth target, set at between 2.6 percent and 3.6 percent.

The Singapore-based bank said in its latest quarterly report on Southeast Asian economies that Philippine exports should post a 5.4-percent increase this year after a contraction in 2009.

The improvement in outbound shipments of products should help reduce the effect of the trade deficit on the economy’s growth to -2.3 percentage points or about half of what was seen in 2009, DBS said.

The trajectory for monthly changes in exports “is a gradually slowing one, mirroring our view that global demand will soon normalise,” the bank said.

“We have not seen this yet in the Philippines’ export data, which has seen steadily powering on at an average of 2 percent month-on-month since January 2009,” it added.

Based on the latest report from the National Statistics Office, exports surged by 42.5 percent year-on-year in January to $3.578 billion.

Compared to exports in December 2009 when earnings reached $3.312 billion, the January shipments grew by 8 percent.

“Should El Niño start to take a more material toll on the economy, we will be looking at cutting our growth forecasts,” DBS said.

In a separate report, New York-based think tank GlobalSource Partners said the El Niño dry spell was unlikely to make a dent in the growth of the Philippine economy despite an estimated P11-billion damage to farm output.

It said the weather disturbance was expected to remain moderate, and that the energy shortage was more likely to affect economic activities.

“(W)e do not see the need to change our full-year GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast of 3.7 percent at this time, especially with possible increase in construction works to take advantage of the favorable weather,” it said.

“On the other hand, the impact of continuing power outages on outputs of high power consuming sectors (e.g., electronics) bears close monitoring,” it added. “This may negate some of the positive trends we are seeing in business confidence.”


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