MANILA — The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 on the back of a recovery in government spending, bringing the full-year economic growth to 5.9 percent.
In a press briefing Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines likely ranked second only behind Vietnam’s 7 percent and higher than China’s 6 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter.
“We have seen our economy facing several challenges right at the start of 2019 as the budget impasse led to delays in the implementation of government programs and projects. Adding to the problem was the election ban on certain, mainly infrastructure projects,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the 2019 national budget only in April.
Pernia said last year’s economic growth was slowest in eight years, and slightly below the low-end of the 6 to 6.5 percent revised target of the government for the year.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that among the major economic sectors, services posted the fastest growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 with 7.9 percent.
The industry grew by 5.4 percent, while agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing registered a growth of 1.5 percent. (PNA)
By Leslie Gatpolintan, January 23, 2020