Aquino expects good 2nd qtr economic figures

By Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 19 2012 08:59 AM | Updated as of Aug 20 2012 01:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino sees good numbers for the second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) as he received a group of business executives, including the author of the boo, Breakout Nations that said the Philippines “is no longer a joke.”

The Philippines posted a 6.4 percent growth in the first quarter primarily due to accelerated government spending.

“Well, as I understood it, the result for the second quarter would be known by end of August. I asked our economic cluster. Of course there are those who are very optimistic, there are those who conservative, but all of them agree we have good numbers for the second quarter,” Aquino said in an ambush interview in Malacañang after swearing in new officials.

He said his economic team committed better than the first quarter results.

“(Finance Secretary) Cesar Purisima is confident that we’ll have at least in the ‘six bracket’; (Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory) Domingo feels that it will be better than the first quarter. I would like to think that and I would like to hope that Greg Domingo is the person who judges the numbers better,” Aquino said.

Aquino also met with Breakout Nations book author Ruchir Sharma, a Morgan Stanley fund manager, at the Palace and discussed the emerging economic situation and the possible investments in the country.

Sharma was accompanied by Munib Madni, managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Singapore and Noel Bautista, chairman of Deutsche Regis Partners Inc.

In his book, Sharma wrote that the Philippines was no longer a joke and that “at long last,” the country was poised to resume a period of strong growth.

Also present in the meeting were Purisima, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office secretary Ricky Carandang and Trade and Industry Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio.

Sharma joined Morgan Stanley in 1996 and has 18 years of investment experience. Prior to joining the firm, he worked with Prime Securities (Delhi), a non-banking financial services firm, where he helped run the foreign exchange business. He has been a contributing editor in Newsweek and has written for publications such as the The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Economic Times.

Aquino said there was no discussion on whether Morgan Stanley would add to the $1 billion investment it placed in the Philippines.