The Philippines ended 2014 on a high note as Asia’s second-fastest growing economy drawing a full-year GDP growth rate of 6.1%. Increasing from 6.3% to 6.9% in the fourth quarter of last year, the Philippines’ solid economic performance brought the country’s GDP growth rate higher than its expected growth in the last quarter of 2014 making it Asia’s fastest-growing economy next to China.
No longer the ‘sick man’ of Asia
In a media briefing at the Philippine Statistics Authority central office in Makati City, NEDA Director and Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the Philippine economy’s performance for 2014 and the preceding years starting in 2010 shows how the Philippines can no longer be called the ‘sick man’ of Asia. “Our economic growth is becoming more competitive with our East and Southeast Asian neighbors”, Balisacan said.
He added, “The growth in the fourth quarter of 2014 appears to be broad-based as all three major productive sectors –the agriculture, industry and services sectors – have shown positive and robust growth during the period”.
This development led J.P. Morgan to revise its 2015 GDP forecast from an earlier projection of 5.4% to 6.4%.
“Upward growth trajectory”
In an emailed statement to GMA News, Finance secretary Cesar Purisima said that the country’s fourth quarter and full year performance “resoundingly affirm its upward growth trajectory buoyed by strong macroeconomic fundamentals”.
“Despite the challenging external environment in the global economy, both the Q4 and full year growth rates exceeded market expectations, lodging the Philippines firmly among the three fastest growing countries in Asia,” he said.
Balisacan also added that the Philippine economy should hit its target of 7% to 8% for 2015, as more public funds are freed up. Falling oil prices and spending for the 2016 elections would also push the economy upward, he said.
“We believe that our economy has moved into a long-term growth path that 7% is quite sustainable and achievable,” he concluded.