ADB upgrades Philippine GDP growth forecast for 2017, 2018

ADB upgrades Philippine GDP growth forecast for 2017, 2018

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised its economic growth forecasts for the Philippines amid strong infrastructure investment and robust consumption.

Excluding Asia's newly industrialised economies, growth is now expected at 6.5 per cent this year.

The research arm of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. announced an upward revision to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent and Singapore-based DBS, meanwhile, expects full-year growth to hit 6.7 percent, up from its previous forecast of 6.4 percent.

The bank added that private consumption aided by benign inflation has provided strong support to most subregional economies, including the Philippines, in 2017.

The revised forecast is also assuming that the prospect of continuing robust domestic demand and external demand will be more buoyant than earlier expected.

ADB emerged as the latest to join a string of upgrades for Thailand's economic growth forecasts, and its upwardly revised figures matched the Bank of Thailand's projections of 3.8% for this year and next.

ADB, in the supplement, forecasts that economic expansion in developing Asia will accelerate to six percent in 2017 "as stronger than expected exports and domestic consumption fuel growth". The projection for 2018 was kept unchanged at 5.8 percent. An unexpectedly strong expansion in Central, East, and Southeast Asia has offset a downward adjustment in South Asia. Manila-based lender, in its ADO update in September, said the acceleration in GDP stemmed from growth in services and industry driven by infrastructure investment and development expenditure.

"Developing Asia's growth momentum, supported by recovering exports, demonstrates that openess to trade remains an essential component of inclusive economic development", said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB's chief economist.

Other reasons, ADB said, included a positive net exports growth in the January-to-September period and robust business-process outsourcing, finance and real-estate services growth, which accounts for almost 60 percent of Philippine GDP. 'Countries can further take advantage of the global recovery by investing in human capital and physical infrastructure that will help sustain growth over the long-term'. The 2018 forecasts for Central Asia are unchanged at 3.9%. Post-disaster reconstruction and tourism are expected to drive growth further in the subregion, particularly in Fiji and Vanuatu.

Headline inflation climbed to 4.0 per cent in the first 10 months of 2017 from 2.2 per cent in the same period previous year, largely because of a one-off adjustment to fuel prices affecting transport in the first half of 2017 and, in the second half, the pass-through of rising worldwide fuel prices.

On inflation, ADB said inflation in Malaysia is expected to slow to 2.7 per cent in 2018, unchanged from September, as domestic price pressures subside. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.



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