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27 November 2009
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Philippines economy to miss govt’s GDP target in 2009

The Philippine economy will no longer meet the high-end target of the government for the country's growth for the year following the lower-than-expected gross domestic product in the third quarter, according to local online daily GMANews.

The National Statistical Coordination Board on Thursday said the country's GDP, the sum of all goods and services produced within the country, in July to September was at 0.8 percent, the low-end of the full-year target of growth of between 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent. In the third quarter of 2008, GDP was at 4.6 percent.

The NSCB has also revised downward the second-quarter economic figure from the previously announced 1.5 percent to 0.8 percent, bringing the first half growth at only 0.6 percent and the nine-month growth at 0.7 percent.

“To hit the lower end of the target, the fourth quarter should be (at least) 0.9 percent...Given that the inflation in fourth quarter being quite tempered, strong inflows (from overseas Filipinos), a growth of 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter is quite doable," said Dennis Arroyo, director for national planning and policy staff of the National Economic and Development Authority.

Meanwhile, gross national product, which includes incomes for overseas, expanded 3.5 percent, a decrease from 6.2 percent recorded in the same period last year.

Arroyo added that Christmas spending is also expected to boost the economy in the fourth quarter.

Growth in the third quarter was pulled lower by the sluggish manufacturing output, negating gains from domestic demand, buoyed by steady remittances of overseas Filipinos.

“The decelerated economic growth benefited from Trade, Finance, Mining and Quarrying, Private Services, and Government Services sectors but was adversely affected by the third consecutive quarter of decline in the manufacturing sector," said Romulo Virola, NSCB secretary-general.

Services, which make up about 60 percent of the economy, grew four percent, an improvement from last year's 3.3 percent. Agriculture, fishery and forestry, which contribute 20 percent, decelerated at 1.6 percent from 2.5 percent.

Industry, about 30 percent of the economy, posted a contraction of 4.4 percent, a slump from a 7.6-percent growth in the third quarter last year.

For next year, the Philippines will retain its growth forecast of between 2.6 percent and 3.6 percent.

Arroyo said election spending will contribute additional 0.34 percent to the economy, but noted that various risks to growth include drought from the El Nino phenomenon, political violence, weak dollar, inflation, higher oil prices and thinning power supply.


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