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Traders optimistic but cautious — ECCP

Currently, the Philippines is experiencing an economic slowdown brought about by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Raffy Ayeng

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A huge reveral in economic performance to a 9.5 percent contraction last year from a 5.9 percent growth in 2019 underscored the need to put in place economic reform policies and stimulus packages, the head of a foreign trade group told Daily Tribune yesterday.

“Currently, the Philippines is experiencing an economic slowdown brought about by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The latest figure demonstrates continued uncertainty on the pace of economic recovery,” according to European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Nabil Francis.

Philippine Statistics Authority data showed the gross domestic product contracted by 8.3 percent in the final quarter to bring the full year retreat to 9.5 percent which is the worst since 1946.
Francis said he remains cautiously optimistic of prospects that the country can prevent any further economic hump and put the economy back on track.

“We believe that we shall wait for the second half of 2022 to get back to the growth level of 2019,” Francis told Daily Tribune.

Optimistic for 2021
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said despite the effects of the pandemic, he is optimistic of a rebound in 2021, as the government keeps its focus on the “Build Back a Better Philippines” plan.

“Exports managed to grow by two percent in September and three percent year-on-year in November 2020 while committed investments, based on Board of Investments (BOI) figures, reached P1.02 trillion in 2020 which is the second-highest in the agency’s 53-year history, which was slightly lower than the P1.14 trillion in 2019,” according to Lopez.

On the other hand, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development figures showed a 30 percent growth in foreign direct investments in 2020, bucking a 42 percent downtrend globally.
Lopez noted the country’s recovery will be aided by the calibrated reopening of the economy while observing the minimal health standards.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said, during a virtual presser of the Technical Group on Economic Recovery First, that the manufacturing sector is intact, very responsive and raring to recover as the country reopens the economy.

“It was obviously seen in the lowering or contraction of the economy if we will compare it to months and across quarters of 2020. While our situation is still very challenging, there has begun a clear trajectory towards recovery,” Rodolfo expressed.

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