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26 Jan, 2017 10:56

Philippines sustains robust economic growth under Duterte

Philippines sustains robust economic growth under Duterte

Economic growth in the Philippines in 2016 was the fastest in Asia due to strong domestic demand following six months of President Rodrigo Duterte in office.

Despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter, the country’s GDP grew 6.8 percent last year, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The annual growth was the fastest since 2013, according to the government.

“Our economy remains robust and is growing at a healthy and steady pace,” said Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

As for the fourth quarter last year, GDP slowed down to 6.6 percent from seven percent in the previous one due to a decline in agriculture and services.

The industrial sector showed the fastest growth at 7.6 percent from October through December, up from 6.5 percent in the same period the previous year.

Household consumption grew 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the same period the year earlier with business investment up 15 percent.

According to the Statistics Office, trade, manufacturing, real estate, renting and business activities were among the major drivers.

“The current government has sustained the economic policies that have been responsible for a trend growth of 6.2 percent in the last six years. The economic team is also a solid team and has a significant influence on the President's economic decisions,” said Joey Cuyegkeng, senior economist at multinational financial services company ING, as quoted by CNBC.

The latest numbers are partially the results of policies pursued by the previous Philippine administration that erased bureaucratic barriers to infrastructure spending.

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“This momentum has sustained since then, and as a result, investment continues to make a near-record contribution to the structure of growth,” said Joseph Incalcaterra, an economist with HSBC, as quoted by FT.

“There are definitely some risks on the horizon stemming from protectionist policies in the US, but we think the Philippines is less at risk compared to other Asian economies,” the analyst added.

The Philippine economy is currently among the fastest growing in Asia, topping China's 6.7 percent growth. India is yet to reveal its economic data for 2016.