MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Philippine economy expanded by a stellar 6.6% in 2012 from the lackluster 3.9% growth in the previous year, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported on Thursday.
"With the robust growth of the services sector led by trade, and real estate, renting and business activities, accentuated by the sturdy performances of manufacturing and construction, the country's gross domestic product grew by 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012, paving the way for the annual GDP to post a broad-based growth of 6.6%," NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert said.
The 2012 economic growth exceeded market expectations and even breached the 5% to 6% target earlier set by the government.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio earlier has said last year's growth may hover around 6.5%, while President Benigno Aquino III earlier this week noted "all of us will be impressed" with the 2012 growth figures.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast the Philippine economy to have grown by 6.5% last year, while the World Bank expected a 6% expansion.
A Bloomberg survey of analysts pegged the Philippines' 2012 growth at 6.3%, while a Reuters poll put it at 6.4%.