IMF sees PH growing slower than expected

Philippine economic growth is expected to be slower than expected this year following a disappointing first-semester performance and amid threats to stability coming from overseas.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) currently sees Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) rising by 6.2 this year and 6.5 percent in 2016. However, a senior official said the country might fall short of these already-conservative projections.

“The downward revision to the first quarter GDP and somewhat weaker global environment may result in a slightly lower forecast than our original,” said Shanaka Jayaneth Peiris, IMF’s resident representative to the Philippines, said on Wednesday.

Late last month, the government said the economy grew by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2015, slower than the initially reported expansion of 5.2 percent. A separate report showed Philippine GDP growth picked up to reach 5.6 percent in April to June.

Despite the improvement, the first-half performance was still far short of the government’s goal of at least 7 percent for the entire year.

The economy will have to grow by more than 8 percent in the second half of the year for this target to be met.

In an e-mail to reporters, IMF’s Peiris said the Philippine economy remained healthy.

“Strong fundamentals should help cushion the economy from global financial market volatility

with exchange rate flexibility serving as a shock absorber and supporting growth,” he said.

He said the country’s steady expansion would be “supported by an acceleration in public spending, a recovery in exports and continued accommodative monetary conditions.”