The economy likely grew stronger in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the 6.2-percent expansion in the third quarter, lifted by robust consumption, benign inflation and higher government spending on infrastructure projects, economists said Wednesday.
Economists from First Metro Investment Corp. and University of Asia & the Pacific said in a joint report the addition of 193,000 jobs in the fourth quarter bolstered economic activities during the period.
“This, together with an expected strong rebound in infrastructure and capital outlays in the last two months of 2019, should boost investment spending in the fourth quarter,” they said.
The report said recent economic indicators were pointing to a stronger gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter and in 2020, with positive employment print and poverty data indicating better investment numbers.
“Household consumption would still benefit from softer inflation [on average] and low-interest rates. The national government will continue to ramp up infrastructure spending amidst the still-large fiscal space,” they said.
The private sector, through public-private-partnership projects and robust residential and commercial building demand, should further drive capital goods investments, they said.
Data showed that economic growth accelerated to 6.2 percent in the third quarter from 5.5 percent in the second quarter because of the government’s higher fiscal spending. This brought the average growth in the first three quarters to 5.8 percent, near the low end of the target range of 6 percent to 6.5 percent.
Economic managers earlier said the economy should grow by at least 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter to hit the low end of the full-year target.