BSP sees 'better' third quarter economic growth, Diokno says


Posted at Jul 30 2020 04:50 PM

Benjamin Diokno at the House of Representatives. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Thursday third quarter economic growth would be better than the second quarter that covered majority of the coronavirus lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the disease.

A single digit contraction in the second quarter "is nice," 10 to 15 [percent] is tolerable, while anything higher than 20 "could be problematic," Diokno told reporters in a virtual briefing.

“The third quarter will be better than the second quarter, and the fourth quarter will be much better so we will probably have a very nice Christmas," Diokno said. 

Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.2 percent in January to March, a first since 1998, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown in Luzon was imposed on March 17. 

The second quarter GDP numbers will be announced on Aug. 6. 

The economy could contract to as much 3.4 percent this year due to the pandemic government estimates showed. 

The BSP has reduced key interest rates to 2.25 percent and the reserve requirement for banks to inject liquidity in the market and boost economic recovery.

The Monetary Board still has room to enforce more measures if needed, Diokno earlier said.

-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News