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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        12  February 2011

Philippines economic index rises

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The Philippine economy would likely grow in the first quarter of this year, as the composite leading economic indicator (LEI) improved for a sixth straight quarter since the final three months of 2009.

In a statement, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said the LEI eased to -0.012 in the first quarter of 2011, from the revised -0.031 in the fourth quarter of 2010, "indicating that the economic momentum that started in the fourth quarter of 2009 would be carried over in the first quarter of 2011."

The NSCB said seven of the 11 indicators used to compute the LEI were positive contributors. As in the fourth quarter of 2010, the seven positive contributors were total merchandise imports, foreign exchange rate, wholesale price index, stock price index, terms of trade index, number of new businesses, and tourist arrivals.

"The combined share of positive contributors for this quarter increased to 55.2 percent from 44.5 percent in 4Q 2010," the NSCB said.

Leading the list of negative contributors was the consumer price index (CPI), followed by the money supply, hotel occupancy rate, and electric energy consumption.

"Leading by ten quarters, the CPI that skyrocketed in 3Q 2008 during the early period of the global financial crisis leads the indicators that pulled down the Q1 2011 composite LEI," the NSCB said, adding that the negative contributors accounted for 44.8 percent of the index. The Philippine economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), grew at a 34-year high of 7.3 percent last year, with growth in the fourth quarter alone coming in at 7.1 percent. The country's GDP grew 8.8 percent in 1976.

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