WB hikes 2012, 2013 growth outlook for PH

Posted at 12/19/2012 12:58 PM | Updated as of 12/19/2012 11:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank has upgraded its 2012 and 2013 growth projections for the Philippines, saying the country's economic performance so far can be sustained through more reforms and additional revenues.

In its East Asia and Pacific Economic Update released Wednesday, World Bank raised its 2012 forecast for the Philippine economy to 6% from the 5% announced in October.

World Bank also hiked its 2013 outlook for the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.2% from 5%.

"Going forward, the country's high growth could be sustained and made more inclusive provided that economic reforms are aggressively pursued to create more and better jobs and reduce poverty at a faster rate; more revenues are raised to finance higher spending in physical and human capital; and global growth is supportive and rebalancing in the region continues," World Bank said.

The new 2012 projection is now equivalent to the high-end of the government's 5% to 6% target, but the 2013 outlook hovers near the low-end of government's 6% to 7% goal next year.

The economy expanded by a faster-than-expected 7.1% in the third quarter, bringing GDP growth to 6.5% in the nine months to September.

World Bank said that consumer spending, which accounts for 75% of GDP, will continue to drive growth this year until the next, as remittances from overseas Filipinos are expected to remain strong.

The main risks for the country's growth path, World Bank said, are the weak economic activity in the US, the European Union and Japan; the looming US fiscal cliff; and the slowing Chinese economy.

"With further structural reforms, especially in areas which will have more impact on the lives of the poor, along with investments in infrastructure, education, and health, the Philippines can take advantage of new opportunities arising from the global economic rebalancing and the strong growth prospects of the East Asia region," World Bank said.

"By building on its previous and current successes and by ensuring that it is prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are coming its way, the government stands to make a significant difference in the lives of Filipinos."

World Bank sees the Philippine economy further expanding by 6.4% in 2014.