By Leslie D. Venzon
MANILA, July 15 (PNA) — The government expects the Philippine economy to grow stronger in the second half of 2015 after posting a slower growth in the first half, bolstering hope on the attainment of even the low end of 7 to 8-percent growth target this year.
”The second half will hopefully pick up. The third quarter especially is a low base,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of the signing Wednesday of a joint memorandum circular on evaluation policy framework with the Department of Budget and Management.
Balisacan admitted that while achieving even the low end of growth target is a “big challenge”, “(but) we are not giving up, we have to work much harder especially in the government spending.”
The NEDA chief cited positive drivers that could offset the impact of lower exports in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first semester of the year.
“We expect the private consumption will grow because inflation is low, remittances are low, oil prices are low and consumer confidence is still high,” he said, noting they also bank on investments and government spending in boosting the country’s economic growth.
Balisacan said the country posted a slowdown in export performance in April and May 2015 amid fragile global economic conditions.
“We have some challenges because of exports. Globally, exports have been less robust than what we expected… Uncertainties are quite a drag in export growth,” he said, referring to the China stock market crash and the European problem on Greece’s debt crisis.
Balisacan said the slowdown in global trade could be a drag on second-quarter GDP.
The country’s GDP slowed down to 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from last year’s 5.6 percent due to weak government spending and lower exports. (PNA)