PH growth still one of fastest in East Asia: World Bank

The World Bank (WB) expects the Philippines to remain one of the fastest-growing economies in the East Asia and the Pacific region, even after it slightly revised downward its projection on the country’s growth rate for the next two years.

In a statement, the WB said it reduced growth projections for the Philippines to 6.4 percent in 2018 from 6.5 percent, and 6.5 percent in 2019 from 6.7 percent, to “reflect recent economic trends.”

“A strong, consistent delivery of the infrastructure investment agenda while sustaining improvements in health, education and social protection will be key to maintaining the robust and inclusive growth outlook of the Philippines,” WB Senior Economist Rong Qian said.

The Washington-based multilateral lender said while persistent high inflation may temper private consumption growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, a moderation in inflation in following quarters is expected to boost consumer confidence and raise private consumption next year.

It also cited the mid-term election in May which is expected to strengthen consumption by temporarily raising employment and disposable incomes in early 2019.

“Investment growth, however, maybe be tempered in the first half of 2019 due to the possible reenactment of the first-quarter 2019 budget following a delay in the budget approval process. Moreover, global trade is expected to remain weak, thus dampening exports,” the Bank added. (PNA)