MANILA - The Philippine economy is expected to grow 7 percent this year and 6 percent in 2014, better than previous forecasts, on strong private and public consumption, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.
The Philippines was the only country among the five big economies of Southeast Asia whose growth forecast was upgraded this year, Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, IMF resident representative in the Philippines, told reporters.
In an update to its World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday, the IMF lowered its growth forecast for the ASEAN 5 economies by 0.3 percentage points to 5.6 percent this year. Apart from the Philippines, the ASEAN 5 includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
"This year, momentum is growing fast. That is coming from fiscal spending, and the second quarter looks likely to be quite strong," Peiris said. "Consumption remains robust."
The Philippines posted stronger-than-expected annual growth of 7.8 percent in the first quarter, eclipsing China to become Asia's fastest growing nation.
The IMF trimmed its global growth forecast on Tuesday for the fifth time since early last year due to a slowdown in emerging economies. It said it had underestimated the depth of the recession in Europe and had not expected the United States to proceed with spending cuts which threaten to stunt growth.