The Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) posted a “spectacular” growth of 6.9 percent for the period of July to September 2017, surpassing the 6.5 to 6.6 percent estimation of most economists.
This made the country the second fastest-growing economy in Asia next to Vietnam’s 7.46 percent, and ahead of China’s 6.8 percent. It likewise surpassed Indonesia’s 5.06 percent and Singapore’s 4.6 percent.
The country’s third-quarter GDP figure was higher than the 6.5 percent growth in the second quarter of 2017, and of the 6.4 percent posted in the first quarter. The figure, however, was slower than the 7.1 percent recorded in the same period last year.
Bloomberg and Reuters earlier projected a 6.5 percent GDP growth in the third quarter of the year.
“The Philippines’ economic growth surpassed market expectations. That’s spectacular growth after an election year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a news conference on Thursday, November 16.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), manufacturing, trade, and real estate, renting and business activities were the main drivers of growth for this year’s third quarter.
The industry recorded the fastest growth of 7.5 percent among the major economic sectors, followed by services with 7.1 percent growth. Agriculture, on the other hand, slowed down by 2.5 percent from the 3.0 percent growth in the previous year.
The country’s gross national income (GNI) also rose by 6.7 percent, backed by the 5.7 percent growth of net primary income (NPI) from the rest of the world.
Per capita GDP rose by 5.4 percent, while per capita GNI and per capita household final consumption expenditure grew by 5.2 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.
Asked for his GDP outlook for the fourth quarter of 2017, Pernia expressed optimism that the country’s economy will grow at a faster pace for the October to December period. He also expects agriculture to rise in the next quarter.
“Well the usual risks would be weather disturbances. But we were saying that we expect though that the growth of the fourth quarter GDP will be higher or at least match the third quarter’s performance,” Pernia said.
He added that the Philippines remains on track to achieving its goal of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent economic growth for the full year of 2017.
Members of the opposition, meanwhile, were unimpressed by the country’s 6.9 percent GDP growth for this year’s third quarter.
In a message to Inquirer, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin pointed out that the government “has not addressed inequality, unemployment, lack of livelihoods and rising inflation that hits the poor most.”
“A rise in economic output does not mean it translates to having a positive impact on the overall socioeconomic welfare of society,” he said.
Sharing the same sentiments, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. claimed that poverty and unemployment remained high despite the growing economy.
“What kind of growth are we talking about? Poverty and unemployment figures are still high and getting worse. Inflation remains high as the peso continues to devalue,” Baguilat said.