BSP reviewing estimate on coronavirus impact on PH growth


Posted at Feb 27 2020 08:44 PM

MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is reviewing its estimate on the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Philippine growth, the head of the central bank said on Thursday. 

Earlier this month, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the outbreak could shave 0.3 percentage points off economic growth in the first half of 2020. 

But today, Diokno said the central bank is revisiting its estimates, which were based on the impact of the outbreak of SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003. 

"The main consideration is that while COVID-19 is less deadly than SARS, it's going to result in more deaths because it has grown so fast," Diokno said. 

He added that China's economy in 2003 was much smaller than it is today. 

The BSP said its earlier estimate on the virus' economic impact focused on tourism, travel and related services. 

"So we really have to revisit the implications," Diokno said.

Markets around the world have been rattled by the impact of the virus. 

Diokno however said, they do not see COVID-19 pulling Philippine growth below 6 percent this year.

"Most of the things that we want to do are not heavily affected by the COVID-19 [outbreak], like Build, Build Build," Diokno said referring to the government's ambitious infrastructure program. 

The BSP slashed interest rates by 25 basis points earlier this month to support growth, as inflation remained within the government's target range. Diokno said another cut of 25 basis points was planned this year. 

- Report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News