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NEDA Hopeful On Philippines Economic Growth Expansion In 2024

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NEDA Hopeful On Philippines Economic Growth Expansion In 2024

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National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan is optimistic that despite risks, the growth of the Philippines will continue to be one of the fastest in the region this year.

“Let’s put it this way, all the major development observers are seeing a 6 percent at least for the Philippines this year. The IMF (International Monetary Fund), the ADB (Asian Development Bank), and the World Bank are seeing quite a good number,” Balisacan said on the sidelines of the 2024 National Innovation Day Celebration in Quezon City on Monday.

The IMF projects the Philippine economy to grow by 6.2 percent this year, while the ADB forecasts economic growth to settle at 6 percent.

The World Bank, meanwhile, expects the Philippine economy to grow by 5.9 percent in 2024.

“In the latest ADB report, in Southeast Asia they put us as the highest performer in 2024. So even though not as high as we targeted in the beginning of the administration, the fact that while everybody was downgraded, or we were downgraded in terms of the absolute level of the growth… still we are expected to perform among the best in Asia,” Balisacan said.

For this year, the government targets a 6 to 7 percent economic growth.

Balisacan said the latest government target is already factored in the scenario of a higher-for-longer interest rate.

“When we looked at the 6-7 percent [target], that’s more or less already given because we know that the interest rates have quite at most five quarters of impact down the road so that’s already given that the interest rates… the result of the policy actions last year are expected to be felt this year,” he said.

Balisacan, meanwhile, said he is hoping that the April 2024 headline inflation data will settle close to March 2024’s 3.7 percent level.

“[Headline inflation] was 3.7 percent last time, right? So hopefully we get as close to that as possible. What we are watching is the 2 to 4 [percent] target for the year because inflation can go up, go down but what we want is to keep that within the band so that there will not be much instability in the market,” he said.

He also assured the public that the government is closely watching the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and its possible effects on inflation.

“If the oil prices would be affected by that development, there will be some pressure for us,” he said.

“But in the second half of this year, we expect the pressure from food prices to diminish because a big part of that food inflation was imported in the sense that food prices particularly for staple have been rising in the world market but for rice that is expected to decline, to have reached its peak and start falling after June as the El Nino phenomenon is waning. So hopefully that’s a plus factor for us,” Balisacan added.

Official April 2024 headline inflation data is scheduled to be released on May 7, while the first quarter economic growth data will be out on May 9. (PNA)