MANILA : The Philippine economy rebounded strongly in the third quarter, supported by a recovery in government spending and making this year’s growth target of 6 per cent-7 per cent “doable”, the economic planning secretary said on Thursday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5.9 per cent in the September quarter from last year, surpassing the 4.7 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll, helped by a turnaround in government spending that grew 6.7 per cent, reversing the previous quarter’s 0.7 per cent decline.
“We hope to maintain this momentum for the remainder of the year and the years to come,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told a media briefing.
The third-quarter put growth for the January to September period at 5.5 per cent, less than the government’s 6 per cent-7 per cent target for 2023. Even so, Balisacan said the goal was “still doable” and “within reach”.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP expanded 3.3 per cent, better than economists’ expectations of 2.0 per cent growth and the previous quarter’s 0.9 per cent contraction.
Balisacan said inflation remained a challenge as it dampened household consumption, which grew at a slower pace of 5.0 per cent in the July to September period from 5.5 per cent in the second quarter.
“We emphasize that non-monetary measures to protect the purchasing power of Filipinos remain crucial as we address the issue of high inflation,” Balisacan said.
Annual inflation slowed for the first time in three months in October, to 4.9 per cent from 6.1 per cent the previous month, but with risks to the inflation outlook on the upside, the central bank has said it was ready to take further policy action to tame prices.
The central bank, which on Oct. 26 delivered an off-cycle 25 basis point interest rate increase, will meet on Nov. 16 to review policy.
(Writing by Karen Lema; editing by Robert Birsel)