Philippines trims growth target, inflation forecast for 2019

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2019 12:32 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2019 02:48 PM

A woman checks goods for sale at a roadside market in downtown Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- The Philippines on Wednesday cut its economic growth target and inflation forecast for 2019 during a periodic review by President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team.

The 2019 gross domestic product growth target was set to 6 to 6.5 percent, the Development Budget Coordinating Committee said in statement. It was set previously at 6 to 7 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Economic growth regained momentum to 6.2 percent in the July to September quarter, after being slowed down in the first half by the delayed passage of the 2019 national budget. The 2020 budget is expected to be passed by both houses of Congress later Wednesday.

"We are committed to building a more effective and competitive economy, one that will provide good jobs to our workers, improve the living conditions of the poor, and create more opportunities for all Filipinos," the DBCC said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia attributed the lower growth target to external factors, including the trade war between China and the United States, which weakened exports and stirred uncertainty among global investors.

The GDP growth goal for was kept at 6.5 to 7.5 percent for 2020 and lowered to 6.5 to 7.5 percent from 7 to 8 percent in 2021 to 2022, said the DBCC, composed of the budget and finance departments, the National Economic Development Authority and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Inflation in 2019 will likely settle at an average 2.4 percent, compared to previous assumption of 2.7 to 3.5 percent. The view for 2020 to 2022 was kept at 2 to 4 percent.

Inflation crept up to 1.3 percent in November due to the waning effect of a high base from the previous year. It was still below the central bank's 2 to 4 percent target.

The peso-dollar exchange rate assumption was lowered to P51-P52 vs $1 for 2019 from P51-P53 vs $1, and to P51-P54 vs $1 from P51-P55 vs $1 for 2020 to 2022.

The 2021 cash budget was pegged at P4.64 trillion, 13.3 percent higher than the spending plan for 2020, the DBCC said.