Philippines won't hit 7 to 8 percent growth this year: Diokno

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2018 11:47 AM

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MANILA - The country's gross domestic product (GDP) could "realistically" grow by 6.7 to 6.9 percent this year, lower than the initial target of 7 to 8 percent, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday.

The Asian Development Bank recently lowered its Philippine growth forecast to 6.4 percent from 6.8 percent for 2018 amid "softened growth" in the second quarter.

"Realistically, that’s maybe out of prints, even the lower bound, 7 percent. We’re probably shooting for 6.7 or 6.9 percent but not 7 to 8 percent," Diokno told ANC's Headstart.

"We’re not gonna hit that anymore. Let’s not talk of hypothetical...I’m not worried about what’s gonna be, we’re not gonna hit 7 percent," he said.

With the first half GDP at 6.3 percent, Diokno said the GDP has to grow by 7.7 percent in the second half of the year to meet the lower bound of the target.

"That is highly unlikely," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

Analysts said inflation in September could “stay elevated” after Ompong caused P26.7 billion damage to crops, livestock, and fisheries.

First Metro Securities consultant for Market Education Alexander Gilles said the recent interest rate hike is necessary to "keep a lead on inflation," even if it influence the peso that is already languishing at near 13-year low.

But Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Monday said the government is still bullish on the country's economic growth, banking on solid macroeconomic fundamentals.

If the third quarter growth comes in at 6 percent as the Bangko Sentral forecasts, fourth quarter growth would need to hit 9.6 percent for growth to average 7 percent this year.

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