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Philippines Expands Most Since 2013Thursday, May 19, 2016 > 10:08:16
The Philippine economy expanded at the fastest pace in almost three years in the first quarter, largely driven by government spending ahead of the election in May.
According to data published by the Philippine Statistics Authority, gross domestic product advanced 6.9 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, in line with expectations and faster than the revised 6.5 percent growth seen in the previous quarter.
The latest rate of expansion was the fastest since the second quarter of 2013. The fourth quarter growth was revised up from 6.3 percent.
On a sequential basis, GDP grew 1.1 percent, but slower than the 2.1 percent expansion logged in the previous three months and 1.4 percent rise economists had forecast.
Today's GDP data showed that Rodrigo Duterte, the country's president elect, will be handed an economy that is in very good health, Gareth Leather, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
In the short-term, the economy looks well placed to continue growing at a strong pace, he noted.
In the first quarter, GDP growth was largely driven by the service sector. Services climbed 7.9 percent compared to 5.5 percent a quarter ago, while industry grew by 8.7 percent versus 5.3 percent posted last year.
At the same time, the agriculture sector contracted for the fourth consecutive quarter by 4.4 percent.
On the expenditure side, household spending growth improved to 7 percent from 6.5 percent, while that in government spending decelerated to 9.9 percent from 15.8 percent.
Growth in capital formation surged to 23.8 percent from 13.3 percent.
Exports grew only 6.6 percent after rising 10.9 percent. On the other hand, imports growth rose to 16.2 percent from 14.9 percent.