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Philippines on the way to recovery, say economists


Easing lockdown restrictions and ramping up mass vaccination against COVID-19 will sustain economic growth in the fourth quarter and next year, economists said on Friday.

“We are on our way to our recovery—our second-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 11.8 percent. But we had the Delta variant in August, and that is why we scaled back in terms of our growth targets. But we’re confident that, looking at the numbers now in terms of COVID-19 [cases], we are looking forward to a very good fourth quarter,” National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon told a GoNegosyo virtual forum.

Economic managers had said the revert to stringent lockdowns in August to contain the spread of the more infectious Delta strain likely slowed year-on-year growth in the past quarter, although third-quarter GDP might be bigger than the second-quarter output given more mobility among workers.

Malaysian financial giant Maybank Kim Eng projected more optimistic growth rates for the Philippines this year and next year with the nationwide vaccination program in full swing.

In a report, Maybank Kim Eng analysts Chua Hak Bin, Lee Ju Ye and Linda Liu forecasted the Philippines’ real GDP growth in 2021 to hit 5.5 percent, above the government’s downscaled 4 to 5 percent goal.

In 2022, the Philippine economy would grow by 7 percent, at the lower end of the 7 to 9 percent target range, Maybank estimates showed.


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