The Philippine economy is the fastest growing in Asia, at 7.1% on-year July -September—its most robust rate of growth in three years.
The figure, announced by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday, surpassed the 6.7% median growth estimate of 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and matched an estimated 1.2%GDP rise against the previous quarter.
It also stacked favorably against China's third quarter growth rate, at 6.7%, and Vietnam's, at 6.4%. Last quarter, India posted a 7.1% growth rate but it has yet to report its third quarter figures. Bloomberg projects that the Philippine economy, undeterred by the risk of a protectionism under Donald Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-U.S. tirades, is set to expand more than 6% until 2018.
Rosemarie Edillon, the Philippines' Economic Planning Undersecretary said in a statement, “All things considered, our economy’s strong growth in the third quarter is a very good sign of things to come.”
Edillon put the better than expected expansion down to strong investment growth, particularly in construction and infrastructure, and upbeat consumer spending driven by low inflation and interest rates.
Astro del Castillo, an analyst at First Grade Holdings securities told AFP that the growth figure was "a surprise for the financial markets,” but "it affirms our view that fundamentals remain intact despite the political noise.”
The Philippine Stock Exchange rose 1.1% Thursday morning from a seven-month low. The peso, however, continues to flounder at an almost eight-year low—49.32 to the greenback late Thursday morning.
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In September, rating agency Standard & Poor's said the Philippines was unlikely to get an upgrade on its credit rating and raised the prospect of a downgrade, citing President Rodrigo Duterte's unpredictability and uncertainty over his domestic and foreign policies. In line with these concerns, some foreign investments have been halted and orders cancelled.