MANILA - The World Bank said Friday it upgraded the Philippines' economic outlook for 2016 to 2018 on sustained public spending on infrastructure.
Gross domestic product is projected to expand 6.8 percent this year, higher than the previous forecast of 6.4 percent, the lender said.
The bank said it upgraded its projections to 6.9 percent for 2017 and 7 percent for 2018.
The country's economic growth accelerated to 7.1 percent in the first three months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, beating forecasts on the back of growing investments and a rebound in agriculture.
The economic planning agency sees growth at 6.5 percent to 7 percent this year.
“Recent economic trends illustrate the high confidence among investors and consumers, and provide the foundation for a more optimistic outlook for the remainder of 2016 and for 2017,” said Birgit Hansl, World Bank's lead economist for the Philippines.
“The economy’s strong performance in October and November, and continued policy commitment to an increase in public infrastructure spending are expected to carry the economy’s growth momentum over to 2017-2018," Hansl added.
Growth will be driven by increased capital investment, the World Bank said.
Monetary policy is expected to remain supportive of growth, resulting in continued expansion in credit despite an expected increase in interest rates in 2017, it added.
Philippine exports are also expected to grow in 2017 at a similar rate as in the last two years as growth momentum shifts towards emerging markets and developing economies.