Vax rollout, upward economic trends fuel PH recovery: BSP

By Joann Villanueva

January 4 2022, 8:03 pm

<p>Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine economy will continue its recovery in 2022 despite the continuous threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as vaccination rollout and economic developments expand.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, in his message during the first meeting for the year with members of the Tuesday Club, a journalists’ group, cited positive economic developments on trade, labor conditions, inflation, and domestic liquidity, among others.

He said exports of goods have recovered as more countries open their economies, a turnout which is also being felt in the Philippines.

Thus, trade deficit rose to USD36.6 billion as of the third quarter last year due in part to renewed domestic demand.

Unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent as of October 2021 from a high of 17.6 percent in April 2020, largely attributed to lockdowns to address the spread of Covid-19.

Inflation, which breached the government’s 2-4 percent target from January to November last year, continued to decelerate, with the November 2021 figure at 4.2 percent from the previous month’s 4.6 percent.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will announce the December 2021 inflation rate on Wednesday.

Domestic liquidity remains ample, with the November 2021 growth at 8.3 percent year-on-year.

Diokno said bank lending has recovered and is now on the uptrend, as shown by the October 2021 level expanding by 3.5 percent from the previous month’s 2.7 percent.

Lending posted contractions in the past months after banks took on a cautious stance for fear of the impact of the pandemic on borrowers’ capacity to pay.

“The continued recovery in bank lending activity reflects the sustained expansion in business activity amid easing quarantine restrictions, declining Covid-19 cases, and increased vaccinations,” Diokno said.

He said these developments make authorities more optimistic on the economy’s recovery this year.

“The management of risks, the expected revitalization of key industries from government policy support and structural reforms, as well as the resumption of global economic activities, should help the Philippine economy move toward a steady recovery path,” he said.

Challenges remain but Diokno pointed out that “we are making good progress” that “should motivate us to persevere harder and keep moving forward”.

“We, at BSP, are all set to support and guide the economy on a steady recovery path toward growth and onward to a post-Covid-19 economy that is sustainable and digitally inclusive,” he added. (PNA)