Philippine economic growth accelerated for the first time in five quarters as the government boosted spending and remittances rose, staving off the effects of a global financial crisis.
Gross domestic product expanded 4.6 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the National Statistical Coordination Board said in Manila today. That compares with a revised 4.4 percent gain in the second quarter, and the 4.4 percent median forecast of 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
President Gloria Arroyo is building more roads, bridges and airports to create jobs and bolster an economy poised to slow for the first time in three years, abandoning a plan to end a decade of budget deficits this year. Remittances from the more than 8 million Filipinos abroad, or about a tenth of the population, are sustaining consumer spending as exports wane.
“The Philippines’ economy is still consumption driven, powered by flows from overseas Filipinos,” said Ildemarc Bautista, an economist at Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. in Manila. “The full effect of the crisis will be felt in 2009. What we have to avoid is too much of a gloomy forecast for next year that might spook people into saving too much.”
The Philippine government this month lowered its 2008 growth target a fifth time to a range of 4.1 percent to 4.8 percent and said expansion may slow to an eight-year low next year. The Southeast Asian economy grew 7.2 percent last year, the fastest pace in three decades.
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