World Bank downgrades Philippine economic forecast to 4.7 percent for 2021

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2021 11:03 AM | Updated as of Jun 08 2021 02:15 PM

Pedestrians cross the intersection of Makati Avenue and Buendia Avenue in Makati City on January 28, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - (UPDATED) The World Bank on Tuesday downgraded its Philippine economic forecast citing the resurgence in COVID-19 cases and reimposition of restrictions that could affect recovery this year. 

The country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can grow to 4.7 percent from the initial forecast of 5.5 percent, World Bank senior economist Kevin Chua said in a virtual briefing.

The figure is below the government's growth target of 6 to 7 percent for 2021. The initial target was also downgraded from 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

"Also, in the second quarter of 2021, we've seen the imposition of quarantine measures alongside the increase in COVID-19 cases," Chua said.

Moving forward, Chua said the World Bank is looking at better recovery prospects for the Philippines as long as it's able to avoid another resurgence in infections.

Aside from ramping up its COVID-19 response and mass vaccination roll-out, effectively delivering social protection programs will help boost the Philippines' recovery prospects, Chua said.

Gross domestic product contracted by 9.6 percent in 2020, its worst since the end of World War 2, due to the impact of COVID-19. 

The economy fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 but it has been showing signs of recovery, authorities have said. 

The Asian Development Bank earlier said the economy could grow by at least 4.5 percent this year. 

Another lockdown was imposed on March 29 after the confirmed daily COVID-19 cases surged. Quarantine measures in the NCR Plus areas have since been relaxed.

Despite the imposition of another lockdown, which was less strict compared to last year, the Philippines has time to "catch up" on its growth targets, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said during the pre-SONA economic briefing. 

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-- with reports from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News