PHL Q2 GDP may have picked up on gov’t spending, exports

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THE Philippine economy may have expanded by 7% in the second quarter, the economic planning secretary said on Wednesday, outpacing the 6.4% pace in January-March that was the slowest in more than a year.

“I think it would be better than last quarter. I have a hunch,” Ernesto Pernia told reporters.

Asked whether gross domestic product would have grown by 7% in the second quarter, Mr. Pernia said it was “still possible.”

Increased government spending as well as improved exports and agriculture output contributed to the faster economic expansion in April-June, he said.

Domestic consumption also remained firm, said Mr. Pernia, as the peso’s recent slide to 11-year lows against the dollar should have encouraged some families with overseas members remitting funds to spend more.

The Philippine government’s push to upgrade its dilapidated roads, railways, ports and airports, that have been a drag on the economy, has spurred a construction boom and President Rodrigo R. Duterte has vowed to sustain infrastructure spending.

The Southeast Asian economy is one of Asia’s fastest-growing and the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it expects growth to be at 6.8% in the medium term.

Mr. Pernia shrugged off concerns of overheating as the expanding economy keeps bank lending growing at a double-digit pace.

“We have slack in terms of the growth potential of the economy. We are not really hitting the limit of the potential,” he said.

The government will release second-quarter GDP data on Aug. 17. — Reuters