The country’s chief economist is still optimistic on hitting a positive economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“My sense is that we have good potential to see a positive growth,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said Thursday in a virtual presser for the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap).
Chua said he was hopeful the economy likely posted “growth above zero” in the January to March period but was not sure to what extent.
“We entered the year with very good foundations but we were stuck with three exogenous shocks that no one really expected,” he added, citing the eruption of Taal Volcano in January, the quarantine in China due to Covid-19, and the ECQ imposed in the entire Luzon on March 16.
Chua, also National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, said the emission from the volcano hit areas which comprise 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), but the country was allowed some time to recover as it did not erupt continuously.
The quarantine in China resulted in the decline in trade and tourism, he said, adding a lot of economies depend on these.
“And the third one is our ECQ in March, so all of these factors are basically affecting the prospects for a very good GDP number,” Chua said. “We should not be surprised if the numbers are not to our best favor.”
Chua’s expected positive or above zero economic growth in the first quarter was much lower compared to this year’s target GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent.
The government will release the first-quarter GDP performance on May 7.
Source: Philippines News Agency