Philippine Economy Grows 6% in Third Quarter

MANILA: As the Philippine government spent more and household consumption increased, the country’s economic growth has picked up a bit in the third quarter, an official has said.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth hit the six-percent mark in the third quarter, an improvement from 5.8 percent the previous quarter and the three-year low five percent in the first three months, Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan was quoted as saying by Philippine Star.

In the same quarter last year, GDP reportedly expanded at a slower pace of 5.5 percent.

He was quoted as saying that for the first nine months of 2015, growth stood at 5.6 percent, making a six-percent full-year target “very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter.”

This makes the Philippines one of the fastest-growing major Asian economies. The country’s GDP growth was the third fastest after China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent, said the news portal.

Balisacan reportedly said strong domestic demand fueled output growth in the third quarter, led by significant improvements in government spending and household consumption. In July to September, public sector performance improved leaps and bounds, with government expenditure increasing from 3.9 percent to 17.4 percent.

For the first nine months alone, the average government final consumption expenditure has already reached 7.2 percent, a lofty leap from last year’s contraction of 0.2 for the same period, and a 2014 full-year rate of 1.7 percent, the report pointed out.

“This simply shows that the government is proving successful in its efforts to overcome the spending bottlenecks that hampered growth in the first semester,” he was quoted as saying by Philippine Star.

In Malacanang, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino has ordered to intensify government spending before the year ends, following continuous underspending early this year.

Coloma reportedly said government would intensify even more efforts to challenges in the last quarter of the year in view of the foreseen severe El Nino until mid-2016 which may adversely affect the economy.

Meanwhile, with availability of more jobs, increasing employment and income, low inflation and inflow of overseas Filipino remittances, household consumption also grew 6.3 percent. Filipino households increased their spending in the third quarter mostly on food and non-alcoholic beverages, miscellaneous goods and services, transport, restaurants and hotels, and communication, Balisacan was quoted as saying in the report.



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