Duterte economic policy praised

The World Bank has boosted its 2017 growth projection for the Philippines to 6.7 per cent from 6.6 per cent due to booming exports driven by the global economic recovery.
The move reflects stronger-than-expected growth of 6.9 per cent in the third quarter and a revision of growth in GDP, the value of all finished goods and services produced in the country, the second quarter to 6.7 per cent from 6.5 per cent.
President Rodrigo Duterte is embarking on a US$180-billion infrastructure programme relying on a tax reform bill that the congress approved last week.
Fitch Ratings last week upgraded the Philippines’ long-term foreign currency rating. The move provided an endorsement of the Duterte administration’s economic strategy, national treasurer Rosalia de Leon said. Fitch assigned a “stable” outlook on the Philippines, as Manila prepares for a global bond offering early next year.
“We welcome this latest favorable action from Fitch, which is a resounding testament to the country’s sustained strong economic fundamentals and favorable growth trajectory,” De Leon said.
“This augurs well for our next global bond offering even as the market has priced our bonds much tighter than our ratings,” she announced.
The treasury chief said the primary focus of the Duterte’s economic strategy was “on delivering results to create more jobs and improve the lives of our people”.
International observers are bullish about the archipelago’s prospects.
“Continued global economic recovery gaining steam has led to higher than expected export growth for the Philippines and an encouraging upturn for the third quarter of 2017,” said World Bank’s chief in the Philippines Birgit Hansl.
The bank said recovery in the major advanced economies and in developing countries was boosting global trade.
Last week, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank also raised its 2017 and 2018 economic growth forecasts based on strong household consumption, manageable inflation and infrastructural investment.
The ADB said it expected the Philippines to record 6.7-per-cent GDP growth from 6.5 per cent.
The 2018 GDP forecast rose to 6.8 per cent from 6.7 per cent.
Demand for the Philippines goods has increased from its major trading partners, including the US, Japan and Europe.
World Bank growth projections for next year remain at 6.7 per cent.
Hansl said: “If investment growth accelerates faster along with increased spending in public infrastructure, economic expansion can be even higher in 2017 and 2018 and exceed the current projection of 6.7 per cent.”
Manila’s increasingly busy port. Picture credit: Wikimedia