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Think tank sees PH growing 6%

The Philippine economy will likely grow 6 percent this year, faster than the 3.2-percent average expansion in Asia-Pacific, regional think tank Pacific Economic Cooperation Council said Monday.

PECC, in its annual state of the region report, ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Week in Manila, said the Philippines was expected to expand 6.3 percent in 2016 and 6.7 percent annually, from 2017 to 2020.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the Philippine economy grew 5.3 percent in the first semester, lower than the government’s full-year growth target of 7 percent to 8 percent.

The report said growth for both advanced and emerging economies in the region, including the Philippines, was significantly slower than the previous crisis years, an indication of the important structural changes taking place in regional economies.

PECC said inflation in the Philippines would likely fall to 1.9 percent in 2015, slightly below the government’s target range of 2 percent to 4 percent.

PECC said inflation would likely rise to 3.4 percent in 2016 and 5.5 percent in 2017 to 2020.

Inflation rate in the first 10 months of 2015 averaged 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile,  the Asia Pacific region is forecast to grow 3.2 percent in 2015, the slowest since the global financial crisis, before returning to what has become the ‘new normal’ growth of around 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent, according to PECC.

“Almost 40 percent of respondents to PECC’s annual survey expected weaker growth for the global economy over the next 12 months, citing a slowdown in the Chinese economy; failure to implement structural reforms; a lack of political leadership; a slowdown in the US economy; and a lack of adequate infrastructure as the top risks to growth,” PECC said.

“Apec’s agenda has moved on from a focus on trade liberalization to addressing a broader set of issues since the Philippines last hosted the meetings in 1996,” said PECC secretary general Eduardo Pedrosa, who served as coordinator of the report.

PECC said the launching of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would help boost growth in the region.

“However, much more is needed. Increasingly, economies aspire to, and demand, growth that is sustainable and inclusive. This raises the very real question of where such growth will come from. As tariffs, quotas and other trade barriers have fallen with trade liberalization, the focus of efforts to generate growth has shifted to structural obstacles that create behind-the-borders barriers to business,” the report said.

PECC cited the need for the region to focus on achieving growth that is not only strong but sustainable and inclusive.

Topics: Pacific Economic Cooperation Council
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