Finance chief forecasts 6.5-7% GDP growth this year
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the economy could expand by another 6.5-7 percent in 2017 on the back of a healthy foreign exchange buffer, a strong banking system as well as a young and educated workforce.
Last year, the economy grew by 6.8 percent, the fastest expansion in three years and among the highest full-year 2016 growth rates in Asia.
This year, the government targets 6.5-7.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
Dominguez said global financial shocks such as rising US interest rates and the possible surge of protectionist policies in certain countries that could affect trade would not unduly threaten the economy as the Philippines was not largely reliant on external trade as a growth driver.
“I’m quite confident that this coming year, we will achieve the growth rates that we have set for ourselves, and that we will be in pretty good shape,” the Finance chief said, adding that the Philippines’ economic outlook remained highly positive, with the country having more than enough forex reserves to service its foreign debt.
“We have a very strong banking system. We have a population that is young, educated, healthy and very enthusiastic. So I think our domestic economy is well positioned to grow between 6.5 and 7 percent as most institutions have predicted,” Dominguez added.
Last week, he said the 6.8-percent GDP growth in 2016 was clear proof that no amount of counterproductive political chatter from certain quarters could undermine the upward trajectory of a domestic economy that was in pretty good shape under a Duterte presidency, which is fully committed to sustaining its growth momentum.
Also, Dominguez pointed out that the country has a President who believed in carrying out fiscally conservative policies to rev up the economy and keep the budget deficit within manageable levels. —BEN O. DE VERA