Business

Philippine economy among top performers in Asia

MANILA: The Philippine economy clocked forecast-topping growth of 6.9 per cent in the third quarter, making it one of Asia's fastest growing economies and building expectations for a near-term increase in interest rates.

The on-year growth, which was above the 6.5 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll and outpaced China's 6.8 per cent increase in the same period, was driven by strong industrial and services output, the statistics agency said yesterday.

Despite central bank arguments that current monetary policy remains appropriate, economists see growing price pressures from the strong demand increasing the likelihood of policy tightening.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he was optimistic the government's 6.5-7.5 per cent growth target for this year would be met, supported by higher state spending and improving exports and farm output.

"We are on track to meeting the full-year target range," Mr Pernia said in a media briefing.

Like its peers in Asia, the Philippines is benefiting from the steady rebound in exports, which were up 12.2 per cent in the nine months to September.

After the data's release, Philippine central bank governor Nestor Espenilla sought to allay concerns of overheating.

"That begins to be a concern if we're persistently growing above potential," Mr Espenilla said. "To keep growing strongly without overheating, we expand potential itself - through high quality investments funded in a sustainable manner." - REUTERS

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