Phl economy expands faster than expected in Q3 2023

(Photo from NEDA / website)
(Photo from NEDA / website)

The country's economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter due to better public spending amid a high inflation rate, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Thursday.

Data released by PSA showed that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 5.9 percent in the third quarter, beating forecasts and outpacing the 4.3 percent print recorded in the second quarter this year.

From January to September 2023, GDP growth was 5.5 percent, which is still below the government's goal of 6 percent to 7 percent this year.

PSA attributed the country's growth during the third quarter to wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, financial and insurance activities, and construction.

"We are pleased to announce that the Philippine economy continues to grow despite several major headwinds that we have experienced and continue to experience," National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Arsenio Balisacan said in the briefing.

"This performance makes our economy the fastest among the major emerging economies in Asia that have released their third-quarter 2023 GDP growth: Vietnam at 5.3 percent, Indonesia and China at 4.9 percent, and Malaysia at 3.3 percent," Balisacan added.

Balisacan said that the economy needs to grow by 7.2 percent in the last quarter of 2023 to meet at least the low end of the 6 to 7 percent GDP growth rate goal set by the Marcos administration for the whole year.

After slow growth in the second quarter, several international lenders lowered their predictions for the country in 2023.

The Asian Development Bank said that growth might only reach 5.7 percent this year, less than the 6 percent expected.

At the same time, the International Monetary Fund lowered its growth prediction for this year from 6.2 percent to 5.33 percent.

Meanwhile, household consumption in the country grew slower by 5 percent in the third quarter from the 5.5 percent expansion seen in the previous quarter.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas implemented aggressive tightening policies to control inflation, which Balisacan said last month could affect the consumers already suffering from high inflation.

Right now, the gross domestic product number for the third quarter would be one of the most important numbers that the BSP would look at at its meeting on 16 November. That's when the monetary authorities would decide if they need to tighten things up even more.

Balisacan said that the government is already checking how well it is doing in following the Philippine Development Plan's objectives and strategies.

"We would like to assure all Filipinos that we will make every effort to remain on course in attaining the economic and social transformation targets of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028," Balisacan said.

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