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Philippine economy likely grew by 6.7% in Q4 — Moody’s

The country’s economy likely grew by 6.7 percent in the last quarter of 2017, according to Moody’s Analytics.

In its latest Asia-Pacific Economic Preview report, the economic research and analysis arm of Moody’s said the Philippines’ gross domestic product in the last three months of the year may have expanded by 6.7 percent, slower than the revised seven percent GDP growth the previous quarter.

This is, however, higher than the 6.6 percent growth recorded in the comparative quarter of 2016.

“The Philippine economy likely grew 6.7 percent year-on-year in the December quarter, after a 6.5 percent lift in the prior three quarters. Domestic demand likely remained the major driver of growth, with exports also providing lift thanks to strong demand for electronics and components,” Moody’s Analytics said.

In particular, Moody’s said consumer spending likely remained firm as households benefited from steady inflows of overseas Filipino remittances and a healthy labor market.

Investments also stayed solid on the back of the government’s Build Build Build program, which got a further boost late last year with the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act.

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“Growth prospects got a further boost late last year with the passage of the first tax reform bill, which will help fund President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure development program,” the research firm said.

Currently, the estimated incremental revenues to be raised from the law is about P89.9 billion.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), part of the additional revenues to be generated from the tax reform law will be used to fund the government’s Build Build Build program.

Under this program, the Duterte administration is planning to spend up to P9 trillion on infrastructure until 2022.

“That will go some way to improving the country’s poor infrastructure, which has long prevented the Philippines from reaching its potential,” Moody’s said.

The Philippine economy expanded by seven percent in the third quarter of 2017, based on the revised figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority. This puts the government on track to meet its 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent full-year growth target.

The government is scheduled to announce the country’s last quarter and full-year GDP growth on Jan. 23.

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