Development planners retain 2019 GDP growth target

Development planners retain 2019 GDP growth target

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Thursday maintained its economic growth target for this year despite sluggish expansion recorded in the first three months of 2019.

At the end of its meeting, the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee, or DBCC, said they still aspire to hit their goal of 6-7% growth rate for this year.

Growth target for 2020 was kept at 6.5-7.5%. From 2021 until the end of the Duterte administration in 2022, policymakers still expects the economy to expand 7-8%.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to build a more dynamic and competitive economy,” the DBCC said in a statement.

Gross domestic product — or the value of all finished goods and services produced in the country — eased to 5.6% in the first three months of 2019 after a spat among lawmakers stalled the approval of the new national budget that left fresh projects unfunded, crimping state spending.

The latest reading was the slowest since 5.1% registered in the first quarter of 2015.

In the same statement, the DBCC vowed to submit the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 within 30 days of the opening of Congress.

Policymakers also revised downward their inflation forecast for this year to 2.7-3.5%, while the budget deficit cap for 2019 to 2022 was steady at 3.2% of GDP to “sustain the government’s investments on infrastructure and human capital development.”

The DBCC likewise adjusted its exchange rate assumption, with the local currency now seen ending 2019 at P51-53 against the US dollar. For 2020 until 2022, the state’s development planners forecast the peso to average P51 to P55 versus the greenback.

Members of the DBCC include the Department of Budget, Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Office of the President.