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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     10 November  2011

Philippines economic rebound

The Philippine economy may rebound in the fourth quarter, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), as its composite leading economic index (LEI) continued to improve.

The NSCB said the LEI accelerated in the fourth quarter to 0.168 from a revised 0.116 in the third quarter the year. The fourth quarter LEI gathered pace after it weakened in the second quarter this year.

The LEI serves as a basis for short-term forecasting of macroeconomic activity, as it incorporates the behavior of indicators that consistently move upward or downward before the actual expansion or contraction of the economy.

NSCB said the positive contributors to LEI in the fourth quarter were number of new businesses, visitor arrivals, consumer price index, hotel occupancy rate, foreign exchange rate, stock price index and electric energy consumption.

The combined share of positive contributors for this quarter increased to 65.5 percent from 55.6 percent in the third quarter.

The negative contributors were total merchandise imports, wholesale price index, terms of trade index, and money supply. The negative contributors accounted for 34.5 percent of the total.

Ruperto Macuja, National Economic and Development Authority assistant director general, said the slowdown in the US and Europe could cut Philippine gross domestic product by 0.8 percentage points this year and another 0.8 percentage points in 2012. GDP refers to the total value of final goods and services produced in the country.

During the first half of the year, the economy grew by 4 percent, much lower than the government’s target of 7 percent to 8 percent this year.

Macuja also said that Philippine unemployment is expected to increase by 0.25 percentage points, translating to about 100,000 persons who would lose their jobs because of the global crisis.

For next year, Ruperto estimated a 0.30-percentage point increase in unemployment, or 123,000 persons who may lose their jobs.

Data from the National Statistics Office showed that unemployment rose to 7.1 percent last July, higher than the 7 percent last year.

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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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