MANILA - Philippine growth could accelerate to 7 percent next year if the government's infrastructure program takes off, a Standard Chartered economist said Friday.
Chidu Narayan, Asia economist for Standard Chartered, said they expect the economy to grow a robust 6.5 percent this year and next year, but the economy could grow faster depending on the government's implementation of infrastructure projects.
"If infrastructure does get implemented, even a part of what has been planned gets implemented in 2018 and 2019, we could see that number edge up higher closer to the 7 percent mark," Narayan told ANC's Market Edge.
Narayan said the government needs to speed up its infrastructure program, noting that infrastructure investment in the first half of the year was actually lower than the 3-year average.
"It will be good to see more shovels on the ground," Narayan said.
He also said that the current concern by foreign businessmen about alleged human rights violations by the Duterte administration has not affected business sentiment.
"In terms of the sentiment itself and how it's affected economic activity, we've not seen so much of an issue," said Narayan, noting that the country's economic fundamentals remain strong.
He sees the peso hitting 52.50 to $1.00 this year as capital goods imports continue to rise because of the government's infrastructure drive.