MANILA - The Philippines likely posted slower growth in the first quarter of the year due to the absence of election-related spending that boosted private consumption last year, according to Dutch financial giant ING Bank.
ING expects the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew between 6.0 to 6.3 percent from January to March this year, which is slower than the 6.8 percent growth posted in the same period last year.
ING Bank senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng added that government spending growth was slow and was likely to affect overall GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Treasury announced that the government posted a much lower budget deficit in the first three months of the year amid slower growth in public spending.
The budget shortfall narrowed by 26 percent to P83 billion in the first quarter of the year from P112.5 billion in the same period in 2016.
From January to March, government expenditures grew at a slower pace of just 4.0 percent to P615.4 billion from P591 billion in the previous year despite the Duterte administration's pledge to ramp up spending.
The government expects GDP to grow between 6.5 and 7.5 percent this year from 6.9 percent last year.