Philippine Economic Growth Eases In First Quarter Of 2017

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Full-year growth could reach 6.9 percent this year, according to the World Bank, well inside the Philippine government's 6.5-7.5 percent target.

Pernia explained that the slower economic growth has been a trend in the years following elections as election spending dissipates.

"GDP expansion in the year's first three months illustrates that growth remains steady and could gain momentum for the rest of the year", said Dominguez, "partly as a result of this Administration's "Dutertenomics" strategy to stimulate economic activity and achieve financial inclusion for all Filipinos in the long haul via an aggressive expenditure program on infrastructure, human capital formation and social protection".

Pernia added that the slower GDP growth could be attributed to higher inflation rates.

"The Philippines remains one of the strongest performers among the major emerging economies in Asia", Pernia said, adding the Philippines overtook Vietnam and Indonesia which grew by 5.1 percent, and Thailand by only 3.3 percent. Meanwhile, India has not yet released its economic figures.

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The agriculture, fishery and forestry sector recovered in the first quarter, growing by 4.9 percent from last year's -4.9 percent. Construction growth slowed to a 0.9% gain from 11% in the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2010, the economy grew by 8.4 percent but then went down to 4.6 percent in the same period the following year.

"The changing of the guards of the government and reorientation of programs really take time to settle, and this slowed government spending for the quarter", Pernia said.

Pernia said they see the domestic economy to maintain its growth momentum with the recovery of external trade and private sector's steadfast optimism.

Pernia said he expects public spending to pick up in the succeeding quarters amid the streamlining of government policies.

To sustain the economy's growth momentum and ensure its effects are more broadly felt, Mr Duterte has promised to spend up to $180 billion over six years to build and modernise railways, airports, seaports and roads.

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