PH still 'fastest-growing emerging economy' in ASEAN

The Philippines continued to exceed expectations and remained the fastest-growing among emerging economies in the region, the government on Wednesday announced.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 7.5 percent from April to June, faster than the 6.3 percent growth it posted in the same period in 2012, official data showed.

“We remain the fastest growing economy among emerging economies in the ASEAN region,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan claimed.

The country’s growth is “the same as that of China” and “surpasses the growth rates of our Asian neighbors,” Balisacan said. It also tops analysts’ forecast of 7.2 percent.

GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within a country’s borders during a specific period. It is used as an indicator of a country’s economic health.

The second-quarter figures bring the country’s growth rate in the first half to 7.6 percent. The government revised growth from January to March downward to 7.7 percent from 7.8 percent.

“The second quarter growth is the fourth consecutive GDP growth of more than 7.0 percent under the Aquino Administration,” the National Statistical Coordination Board chief said.

NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert further said that the “resilient services sector, which grew by 7.4 percent, remained the main driver of the country’s growth.”

Growth was also supported by a robust industry sector, which grew by 10.3 percent. Agriculture, on the other hand, pulled GDP down as it contracted by 0.3 percent.

“We have been experiencing growth of above 6 percent since the first quarter of 2012,” Balisacan said, adding that this confirms that the country is “now on a higher growth trajectory.”

This, as he noted that the Philippines has shown its ability to withstand external shocks by posting stellar growth even as other economies decelerate due to the global slowdown.

“All our efforts to attract investments and build business and consumer confidence have borne fruit,” the Cabinet official said, adding that the country is set to surpass its growth target of 6-7 percent for the full year.

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