Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Philippine economy seen growing 2.5%-4% GDP in 2009

http://www.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2000869&Itemid=2

MANILA, June 17 (PNA) -- The Philippine economy will not go into recession and is expected to grow 2.5 to 4 percent this year, according to economist Bernardo Villegas.

At the sidelines of the 40th National Marketing Conference organized by the Philippine Marketing Association, Villegas said the Philippines will be among the few countries in the world that will post positive growth despite the global financial crisis.

He said the country thus should not be bothered about the measly 0.4-percent gross domestic product (GDP) registered in the first quarter, as it is not indicative of what will be the overall growth for 2009.

Villegas said economic growth will accelerate in the succeeding quarters to a high of six percent in the fourth quarter, from 3 percent in the second quarter and around 4 to 5 percent in the second quarter.

He said this year’s overall growth will be driven by overseas Filipino workers' (OFWs) remittances, government infrastructure spending, agriculture, domestic tourism and expenditures of political candidates who will be running for the May 2010 elections.

Villegas expects OFW remittances, which comprise around 12 percent of GDP, to increase to at least $ 18 billion in 2009 from last year’s $ 16.4 billion.

The projection could go higher as the number of Filipino workers abroad will continue to rise despite the crisis, owing to their various qualities and talents, the economist added.

“Remittances from overseas Filipino workers will not decline,” he asserted.

Villegas, also a professor of University of Asia and the Pacific (UAP), further said agriculture will still be the ‘brightest sector’ in the next 10 years.

He said domestic tourism likewise would be a growth driver this year, as local travelers would be encouraged to travel around the country rather than going abroad as a result of AH1NI virus scare.

Moreover, Villegas said a lot of infrastructure spending will take place towards the end of the year which is crucial to pump-priming the economy.

“Third quarter is when a lot of infrastructure spending will already happen; it will start in September,” he said, adding “Pump-priming is the name of the game.” (PNA)

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Economist sees 4% economic growth
By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:21:00 04/28/2009
http://business.inquirer.net/money/topstories/view/20090428-201999/Economist-sees-4-economic-growth

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite the global economic slowdown, the country can expect relatively brighter prospects this year in terms of economic growth and opportunities, according to a senior economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific.

At the general membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines, Bernardo M. Villegas noted that in the region, there may only be three countries that will have positive growth rates—Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

According to Villegas, the Philippine economy may even register a gross domestic product growth of 4.0 percent—contrary to forecasts and estimates made by multilateral agencies.

GDP is the value of goods produced and services rendered in an economy in a given period. It excludes remittances from overseas workers.

The government’s forecast is for a 3.1-percent growth this year in the face of a global economic downturn. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank expect the Philippines to grow 1.9 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

“It is not true that the GDP of the Philippines will grow by only 1.0 percent. I strongly disagree,” Villegas said.

One factor, according to Villegas, is the fact the Philippines has a population of some 90 million—a huge domestic market to sell to—even if exports drop by 30-40 percent.

“If you take a look, the ones who will dominate are countries that have at least 50 million people,” he added.

He also noted that multilateral agencies like the World Bank are using models—especially with regards to overseas workers—that are too generic.

“They look at the whole universe of overseas workers lumped together—Indians, Mexicans, Chinese and they are not taking into account that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are totally superior to overseas workers from other countries,” he said.

He explained that while foreign countries like Spain and the United Arab Emirates are sending home overseas workers, “they almost pleaded to Filipino workers to stay.”

“Why? Because they found out that Filipino workers are multi-skilled—they can go from one job to another, and the [multilateral agencies] are oblivious to this situation,” he explained.

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