MANILA—The Philippine economy likely expanded 7 percent in the first quarter of 2017 on the back of increased government spending and strong domestic consumption, according to the country’s chief economist.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was projected to grow 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.
“I think there are signs that for the first quarter, we are going to hit close to the mid-range of this growth target of around 7 percent,” he said during the Dutertenomics forum organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Department of Finance.
On the demand side, Pernia said household consumption and investments boosted economic growth.
“Government spending on infrastructure, private sector investment in manufacturing and other areas of the economy, as well as exports, are beginning to show signs of revival from being on the downside in previous years,” he said.
Pernia, also Director General of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said they expected the agriculture and fishery sector to perform better this year on the supply side.
He added a boost in construction industry from an aggressive government spending for infrastructure, and the expected influx of tourists, were also key growth drivers.
“If the trend continues, then the per capita income of the nation will increase from a little over 3,500 dollars in 2015 to over 5,000 dollars by 2022, making the Philippines an upper middle income country by then,” said the NEDA chief.