The Philippine economy is currently in a “sweet spot” with growth likely having accelerated in the first three months of the year, Moody’s Analytics said.
“The Philippine economy likely grew 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter,” it said in a report released over the weekend.
Official gross domestic product (GDP) growth data is scheduled to be released next month. A 6.8 result would be an improvement from the 6.4 percent recorded a year earlier and the downwardly revised 6.5 percent posted in the last quarter of 2017.
“The economy is in somewhat of a sweet spot. Consumer spending is rising at a healthy pace thanks to steady inflows of overseas worker remittances and a firm labor market,” Moody’s Analytics said.
Personal remittances totaled $2.528 billion in February, bringing the year-to-date tally at $5.182 billion. Employment, meanwhile, rose to 94.7 percent in January from 93.4 pecent previously.
“Investment has been robust and is likely to remains strong as the government boosts infrastructure development. Meanwhile, the upswing in external demand is lifting exports,” the Moody’s unit also said.
Government spending under the “Build Build Build” infrastructure program is expected to total P8-9 trillion over the incumbent’s six-year term.
Merchandise exports declined by 1.8 percent in February to $4.66 billion but year to date remained positive, up 1.0 percent to $10.032 billion.
“With these factors and favorable demographics, the Philippines s likely to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the region in coming years,” Moody’s Analytics said.
Earlier, investment bank First Metro Investment Corp. and University of Asia and the Pacific forecast first quarter growth of higher than 7 percent, which they said would reflect a manufacturing expanson and capital goods imports.
The government is targeting full-year GDP growth of 7.0-80 percent, higher than the 6.7 percent recorded in 2017. / BY MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO, TMT ON