Sun Life Executive Forecasts Within Target ’19 Growth For PH

An official of Sun Life Philippines remains positive of within-target growth for the Philippine economy this year if government spending sustains its strong growth.

In the first three quarters of the year, growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), averaged at 5.8 percent, still short of the 6 to 7-percent growth target this year.

For the fourth quarter, Sun Life Philippines Chief Investments Officer Michael Enriquez forecasts domestic output to be at 6.5 to 6.6 percent, which would bring full-year growth to around 5.975 percent.

“Hopefully, it registers at 6.6 percent or 6.7 percent for the fourth quarter,” he said in an economic briefing Friday.

While government spending will boost growth, Enriquez said regulatory overhangs are among the risks to domestic growth.

“I think there are a lot of changes in regulations that affect some companies right now, especially the utility companies,” he said.

Enriquez said regulatory issues “create some negative outlook on how business is conducted in the country.”

Meanwhile, he forecasts inflation rate to average this year at 2.4 percent, same level as that of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), while his 2020 forecast is three percent.

Both projections are within the government’s 2-4 percent target band until 2021.

The rate of price increases in the first 11 months this year averaged at 2.5 percent.

Last November, it posted an uptick to 1.3 percent from 0.8 percent in the previous month primarily due to faster inflation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco index given the higher sin taxes.

Last month’s uptick is the second jump after domestic inflation peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October 2018.

The first increase was recorded last May when the figure rose to 3.2 percent from month-ago’s 3 percent. (PNA)