MANILA - The Philippines can grow 6.4 percent this year, a regional think tank said on Tuesday despite less optimistic forecasts from other organizations including multilateral financial institutions.
The ASEAN plus 3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) said the country’s recovery “depends on how successful the Philippines is in containing the virus and opening up the economy.”
“Maybe there is another wave of infection, and the economy has to be locked down again, that would be very bad for the economy,” said AMRO Chief Economist Dr. Hoe Ee Khor.
The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank all downgraded their forecasts earlier this year following a fresh surge in COVID-19 infections and the reimposition of stricter quarantine measures in the National Capital Region and several other areas.
“Already the consensus baseline is 5.5 percent that can go to 4.5 percent or lower. That really is not our baseline. Our baseline is they will be able to ramp up vaccination rate and contain, hopefully they can bring it down further,” Khor added.
Khor however also said the country needs to boost the pace of its vaccine rollout.
“Vaccination has been relatively slow. The Philippines has vaccinated only a small portion of its population, far from its 70 percent target. The government needs to significantly ramp up vaccination in the second half.”
ABS-CBN News’ vaccine tracker puts the number of fully vaccinated Filipinos at 2,527,286 or just 4.36 percent of the 58 million target for the year, after almost 3 months since the vaccination program started.
The Philippine economy shrank a record 9.6 percent in 2020, the worst in the ASEAN region. Gross domestic product shrank a further 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year.
ASEAN plus 3 refers to the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; and China, Japan, and South Korea.