Aquino: PH surpassed 2012 growth target

Posted at 01/29/2013 2:47 PM | Updated as of 01/30/2013 9:13 AM

MANILA - The Philippine economy grew faster last year than the government's 5 to 6 percent target, President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday, ahead of the release of GDP data on Jan. 31.

"Definitely," Aquino told reporters when asked if the country exceeded the government's 2012 growth goal.

"Can I just say all of us will be impressed?," Aquino added, suggesting the economy may have ended 2012 much stronger than expected. He did not elaborate.

In a Reuters poll last week, economists forecast that the Philippines grew 6.4 percent in 2012. They also projected the fourth-quarter's annual growth pace at 6.4 percent.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country's central bank, kept its key policy rate steady at a record low of 3.5 percent on Jan. 24, as it expects the economy to sustain its strong momentum and inflation to remain benign.

The Philippines, like most of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, has stayed resilient in the face of the European debt crisis and weak growth in key trading partners such as the United States, with strong private and public spending offsetting weaker exports.