PHL GDP seen to grow 7% to 7.5 % in 2017

First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC), the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group, sees the Philippine economy expanding by 7 to 7.5 percent and outperforming its ASEAN peers in 2017.

"There will also be a lot of internal and external changes and threats that will impact the country's economy but we are optimistic that given our sound macroeconomic fundamentals and compelling investment story, the country's economy will remain strong," said FMIC President Rabboni Francis Arjonillo.

Arjonillo said this year's economic growth would be driven by higher capital investments as the Duterte administration continued to ramp up infrastructure spending.

Infrastructure spending is projected to grow 5 to 5.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has so far approved 17 projects worth Php392.9 billion during the Duterte administration's first six months in service.

Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Professor at University of Asia and the Pacific, identified other engines for the Philippine economy this year, including strong business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, domestic tourism, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remittances, public-private partnership (PPP) projects and agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

"Manufacturing is going into renaissance," he said, adding the continued growth of the so-called fast growing consumer products will also drive economic growth.

OFW remittances will sustain its growth of 2 to 4 percent as the United States economy continues to improve. The recovery of oil prices is also seen to translate into higher demand for OFWs.

GDP is estimated to have grown 7 percent in 2016. It accelerated 7 percent in the first three quarters.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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