Philippine economy set for rebound, pandemic impact ‘transitory’

July 12, 2021 - 9:12 PM
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A view of Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, considered one of the country's central business district. A number of government offices are expected to move to the area in the next few years. (The STAR/Paulo Alcazaren)
  •  Monetary, fiscal policies supportive of growth -officials
  • Double digit growth in Q2 2021 – finance minister
  • Fitch downgrades credit rating outlook to negative

MANILA — The Philippines is set for an economic rebound, with medium-term growth prospects on solid footing, its economic managers said on Monday, after Fitch Ratings affirmed the country’s investment grade score but downgraded its outlook to negative.

Fiscal and monetary policies are in place to support recovery of the Philippine economy, one of Asia’s fastest growing before the pandemic, officials said.

“We expect the drag caused by COVID-19 on the Philippine economy to be transitory,” Philippines‘ central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement, commenting on Fitch.

A weakening Philippine peso and potential rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve are not a cause for concern, with the central bank committed to retain a market-determined foreign exchange rate and an accommodative monetary policy to support the economy, Diokno said earlier on Monday.

In downgrading its outlook on the Philippines, Fitch said there were increasing risks to the credit profile, while fiscal finances have weakened, both as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Although the negative impact of the pandemic on the Philippines has been significant, this will only be temporary,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in the statement.

The economy is seen to have posted double-digit growth in the second quarter of this year, he added.

The Philippines, which is battling one of the region’s worst coronavirus epidemics, aims to vaccinate 50 to 70 million of its 110 million population this year to safely reopen the economy, which contracted by a record 9.6% in 2020.

—Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Ed Davies, Martin Petty