MANILA – The Philippine economy is expected to have maintained a robust pace of growth in the first quarter, bolstered by resilient exports and strong consumer spending and investment activity.
The economy is also being propped up by record remittances from abroad and the government’s expansionary fiscal policies at home. Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest economy is on track to remain one of the region’s fasting-growing this year.
Gross domestic product was expected to grow 1.5 percent in the March quarter from the previous three months, slightly slower than 1.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll.
From a year earlier, the economy was estimated to expand 6.8 percent in the first three months, faster than 6.6 percent growth in the fourth quarter, driven by a rebound in exports, farm output and strong domestic demand.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told Reuters in January he expected annual growth in the first quarter period to be between 6.5-7.0 percent, or even higher, as the government committed to ramp up infrastructure spending.
For the full-year, economists forecast the Philippine economy would grow 6.8 percent, within the government’s growth target of 6.5-7.5 percent.