Philippines revises 2019 GDP growth to 6 percent

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 02:07 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2020 11:21 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines hit its growth target last year after the government revised its calculations using 2018 as base year instead of 2000, official data released Monday showed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6 percent in 2019, the low end of the government's goal of 6 to 7 percent growth, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Last January, the PSA said the country's GDP grew 5.9 percent.

The PSA said it needed to shift its base year to 2018 from 2000 to ensure the accuracy, consistency and comparability of the national
accounts estimates, and reflect the most recent economic structure of the country. 

The agency noted that other countries in Southeast Asia have been using more recent base years such as 2010 for Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Using 2018 as base year, the economy grew 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter, up from the previous figure of 6.4 percent. Growth in the third quarter was also revised from 6 percent to 6.3 percent. 

Despite the revision, the growth posted last year was still the lowest in 8 years.

Earlier this year, the government set a growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for 2020. 

But after the spread of COVID-19 led to the lockdown of the entire island of Luzon, which accounts for 73 percent of the country's GDP, economic managers were not so optimistic.

The Asian Development Bank said Philippine GDP could expand by 2 percent this year.

Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia meanwhile said that depending on how long the crisis would last, GDP could contract by 0.6 percent or grow by 4.3 percent.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said GDP could shrink 1 percent this year, or post zero growth. 

Official GDP data for the first quarter will be released on May 7.