NEDA chief says 2010 GDP may be above 7%

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2011 11:52 AM | Updated as of Jan 21 2011 02:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The country's economic planning secretary said on Thursday he was hopeful annual GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2010 will hit 6.5%, pushing the full-year 2010 average growth above 7%.

The government has said growth last year was faster than its target of 5% to 6%.

"We have seen our economy steadfastly expand despite the decline in agriculture due to the El Niño onslaught," Cayetano Paderanga told reporters.

For 2011, Paderanga said growth will be "more modest" due to the absence of election spending and the fragile global economic recovery.

"In fact, in the preparation of the 2011 government budget, we assumed a conservative 5% GDP growth. That is only for the budget process. However, with the right policies and continued confidence, we are hopeful that the government real GDP growth target of 7% to 8%... would still be achievable."

Paderanga cited several factors that would support economic growth in 2011.

On the supply side, he said the agriculture sector may recover as the impact of the government’s modernization plan kicks off. The industry sector -- including includes mining, construction, and housing -- would post a "full" rebound, while services will continue to improve driven by trade, private services and finance.

Paderanga added that private consumption will still be fueled by strong inflows of remittances from abroad, and investments will continue expand on account of construction, agro-industry, business process outsourcing, electronics and tourism.

The government is scheduled to announce the official 2010 GDP data on January 31. - With Reuters