MANILA — Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno expects the continued expansion of the domestic economy, citing improvement in the labor and manufacturing sectors.
“The recent economic numbers all point to a sustained, strong fourth quarter economic performance,” he told journalists in a Viber message on Thursday.
As measured by gross domestic product (GDP), the economy expanded 7.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, higher than the upwardly revised 7.5 percent in the previous quarter.
Economic growth in the first three quarters this year averaged at 7.76 percent, surpassing the government’s 6.5 to 7.5 percent full year growth assumption.
On Wednesday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported the 95.5 percent annual expansion of employment rate in the country, up from the previous month’s 95 percent rise and is the highest recorded rate since January 2020.
During the same period, the unemployment rate returned to pre-pandemic level of 4.5 percent, or about 2.24 million Filipinos.
The labor force participation rate in the 10th month this year improved to 64.2 percent from 62.6 percent in the same period last year.
Manufacturing registered its fifth consecutive growth last October after rising by 5.1 percent in terms of volume, PSA data show.
This was driven by, among others, the manufacturing of machinery and equipment except electrical, which grew on an annual basis by 76.4 percent.
The PSA said 17 of the 22 industry divisions posted expansion last October.
While the inflation rate accelerated last month to 8 percent, its highest since November 2008, Diokno said monetary authorities forecast a deceleration starting in the first quarter of 2023.
“Two main contributors to this trend are world oil prices and the peso appreciation,” he said.
Prices of oil in the international market slipped to below USD80 per barrel this week, partly on global recession fears on the back of developments in the United States.
The local currency continues to improve against the greenback and closed at the 55-level since last Tuesday, buoyed by the seasonal strong inflows of remittances from overseas Filipinos for the Christmas season and the general weakening of the US dollar. (PNA)