World Bank raises anew Philippine growth outlook, PEZA investment grows 5.36%

The World Bank has again raised its growth forecast for the Philippines, expecting the economy to expand 5.0 percent in 2012 amid a regional slowdown.

The latest outlook, contained in the East Asia and Pacific Data Monitor, is an upward revision from the 4.6 percent in July and 4.2 percent in May.

World Bank's growth upgrade came after the Asian Development Bank last week raised its growth outlook for the Philippines from 4.8 percent to 5.5 percent in 2012, taking into account the country's strength despite global economic woes.

The report, released Monday, cited the country's strong performance in the first semester as the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 percent, slightly above the government's 5- to 6- percent target for 2012.

"In the Philippines, the acceleration of government infrastructure spending has contributed to the strong growth performance in the first half while revenue growth is supported by tax administration reforms as well as strong GDP growth," the World Bank said.

Economic growth outlook for the East Asia and Pacific region, however, was trimmed to 7.2 percent from 7.6 percent in 2012 given the continued weak external environment. The region grew by 8.2 percent in 2011.

For 2013, World Bank projects the Philippines to grow 5 percent, unchanged from its earlier forecast while a rebound is seen in East Asia and Pacific with the region's economy expected to recover to 7.6 percent in 2013 on the back of strong domestic demand in developing countries.

"In East Asia, growth among developing economies is expected to decline a full percentage point from 2011 to 7.2 percent this year, before recovering to 7.6 percent in 2013 backed by continued strong domestic demand and aided by an uptick in global trade growth," the report said.

The report said that recent policy moves by the European Central Bank has reduced tensions from the eurozone crisis and the announcement by the United States Federal Reserve on a new round of quantitative easing to boost the American economy has helped revive the global equity markets.

However, it warned that disruptions in international financial markets could still cloud the economic outlook for the region.

Further, a slowdown in China remains a concern with weak exports and lower investment growth seen to cut its GDP. China is projected to grow 7.7 percent this year from an earlier forecast of 8.2 percent. Also, it is expected to grow by 8.1 percent next year from the previous forecast of 8.6 percent.

The recent global food price increases seem less of a risk to the region as rice markets are not much affected at the moment, the report noted.

With the growth prospects, poverty will continue to decline with the share of people living on $2 per day reaching 24.5 percent by the end of 2013, down from 28.8 percent in 2010, it added.

The report urged policy makers in East Asia and Pacific to continue managing growth and reducing poverty in an environment that will remain volatile.

"The East Asia and Pacific region's share in the global economy has tripled in the last two decades, from 6 percent to almost 18 percent today, which underscores the critical importance of this region's continued growth for the rest of the world," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

Economic zone investments grow 5.36%

Investment commitments in economic zones grew 5.36 percent year-on-year for the first nine months of 2012, data from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority on Monday shows.

According to PEZA promotions group head Elmer San Pascual, investments for the period reached 128.160 billion, up from 121.640 billion a year ago.

"This 128.160 billion investment is projected to create 64,107 direct employment and export sales of $5.015 billion," he said.

Except for the export sales, the numbers are a slight uptick from those PEZA announced last week.

"We are still waiting for a number of big investments in the remainder of the year," said San Pascual, adding that these scheduled investments will comprise half of the total investments for 2012.

San Pascual attributed the rise in part to continued optimism for better export numbers in the coming months, despite the current decline in electronic exports.

PEZA is aiming for 323 billion worth of investments in 2012, a 12-percent increase over P288 billion in 2011

Inquirer, GMA News

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