PH is now Asia's strongest-performing economy, says expert

Amid a disaster, here comes some good news.

This, as an expert claims Philippines is now the strongest-performing economy in Asia, thanks to improved exports even in a weak global environment.

"The strongest-performing economy in the Asia today is the Philippines," Michael Spencer, chief economist for Asia at Deutsche Bank AG, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.

Spencer notes the country has historically been identified as dependent on the economies of the United States and Europe, which both continue to face uncertainties.

The Philippine economy grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter, with economists noting that this signaled a recovery from the sluggish 3.7 percent growth in 2011.

This made the Philippines the second fastest-growing Asian economy, topped only by China at 8.1 percent.

"what's driving growth [in the Philippines] today is exports, surprisingly enough for them," Spencer said.

National Statistics Office (NSO) data show that total exports reach $26.8 million in the first half, up 7.68 percent from $24.8 million in the same period in 2011.

The country's export performance has been insulated from weak external demand, particularly from US and Europe, by increasing outbound shipments to Japan, Spencer said.

"I suspect that this has something to do with Japan outsourcing to the Philippines after the earthquake," he added.

Outbound shipments to Japan also grew by 11 percent to $4.77 billion in the first half from $4.29 billion a year ago.

Japan thus remained the Philippines' top market during the period, accounting for 17.8 percent of total exports.

Last year, Japan was also the Philippines' top product destination with $8.86 billion worth of exports or 18.5 percent of total exports.

It was followed by the US, with a 14.8 percent share; China, 12.7 percent; Hong Kong, 7.71 percent; and Singapore, 8.92 percent.

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