MANILA, Philippines - The country’s growth prospects remain robust despite current volatilities but a local bank stressed that the Philippines should take this chance to craft policies that will create more jobs and alleviate poverty.
“Nothwithstanding the current market volatilities and the slowdown in some emerging economies, the Philippines is riding high on rosy and positive economic outlook,” Pauline Revillas, research analyst at Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank), said in the bank’s latest Weekly Views.
Revillas noted that the World Bank (WB) recently raised its full-year forecast for the Philippines but downgraded expectations for its regional peers.
“WB noted that the country is expected to maintain its growth momentum into the near to medium term, mainly spurred by strong consumption spending, vibrant services sector, and higher infrastructure spending,” Revillas said.
At the same time, the Philippines was awarded another investment grade rating earlier this month, this time from Moody’s Investors Service. The action followed Fitch Ratings’ in March and Standard and Poor’s in May.
Revillas, however, said the high economic growth numbers should be able to translate to the creation of more jobs and the alleviation of poverty.
“The current economic growth however is for naught if it is not sustainable and inclusive. The country is continually burdened by high unemployment and poverty rates despite the strong GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” Revillas said.
The country’s unemployment rate worsened at 7.3 percent in July from 7 percent in the same month last year, latest data from the National Statistics Office showed.
The poverty incidence in the Philippines, meanwhile, stood at 27.9 percent in the first half of 2012, barely unchanged from the same period in 2006 and 2009.
These developments were amid a faster-than-expected 6.8 percent economic growth seen by the country in 2012, above government’s expectations of 5 to 6 percent.
For this year, the economy has already expanded by a stellar 7.6 percent in the first half, also faster than government’s target of a 6 to 7 percent growth.
“It is indeed imperative that policies be made and implemented for the benefits of growth to benefit the broader population,” Revillas said.
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