The Philippines is now the fastest-growing among the five largest economies in Southeast Asia also known as the “ASEAN 5,” the statistics bureau said Wednesday.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) claims the Philippines beat Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in terms of economic growth in recent quarters.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the main benchmark of economic growth, rose by 6.8 percent in 2012 and by 7.6 percent in the first six months of 2013.
These growth rates are higher than any other country in ASEAN 5 and also topped the bloc’s average growth of 5.8 percent in 2012 and 5.1 percent in the first half of 2013.
The Philippines has thus broken the trend of being the slowest growing among the five biggest ASEAN countries for six years, NSCB Director-General Jose Ramon Albert said.
“Putting these growth figures in the ASEAN context, the country’s growth has been consistently below the ASEAN and the ASEAN 5 average growth rates from 2005 to 2011,” he said.
Albert noted that before its recent boom, the Philippine economy was “on a precarious roller coaster ride,” with growth reaching its lowest in 2009 at 1.1 percent.
“However, from the second half of 2012 to the first half of 2013, the economy has been in full swing growing at more than seven percent and outperforming its peers,” he said.
The NSCB report cited data from the ASEAN Community Progress Monitoring System and came a day after it claimed that economic growth will remain strong until yearend.
While posting the highest growth rate, the Philippines, however, has the lowest GDP per capita at only $4,339 in 2012 versus the ASEAN 5 average of $7,010.
GDP per capita is the country’s total economic output divided among its population. This means that Pinoys’ income measured per person is the lowest in the ASEAN 5.
Singapore posted the highest per capita GDP in the group at $61,461, followed by Malaysia ($16,976), Thailand ($9,609) and Indonesia ($4,971).
The Philippines’ economic expansion is good news, Albert said. But he added that “much remains to be done to sustain such high growth trajectory and to make it inclusive.”
The statistics chief added that ensuring that growth is sustained and shared by everyone is “not solely the government’s responsibility but is equally shared by the private sector.”
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