Philippine economy slows down to 6.1% in third quarter
The Philippines economy on Thursday slowed down to 6.1 percent from the previous quarter's 6.2 percent on gross domestic product terms for a three-year low, sparking concerns from the government.
Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA) Undersecretary Lisa Bernales said lower growth was due to a weak agriculture sector and high prices of food.
GDP was recorded at 7.2 percent during the same period of 2017.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the concern is "because the reason for the slowdown, among others, is the slowdown in household consumption, particularly the marked slowdown in the household spending on food and other basic products."
"In household final consumption demand grew by only 5.2 percent in Q3, from a growth of 5.9 percent in Q2. Household spending on food grew only by 2.8 percent in Q3, from 6.2 percent in Q2," said Pernia.
Bersales added that this was the lowest household consumption since the third quarter of 2014.
Pernia said "food prices remained elevated that's why we are addressing this very strongly."
"With the measures we have been pushing for, the slowdown in household spending is deemed to be abatable and temporary," he added.
Trade, construction and manufacturing were the main drivers of growth for the quarter, Bersales said.
Services sector were recorded fastest growth at 6.9 percent followed by 6.2 percent growth from the Industry sector.
The agriculture sector grew only at 0.4 percent from 2.6 percent during the same period last year.
On the agriculture side, Pernia said "more robust solution is to reform the legal framework surrounding agricultural development and agricultural trade."
He then urged the Congress to pass without delay the Rice Tariffication Bill. This will reduce rice prices by P2.00 to P7.00 per kilo and help enhance the productivity of farmers through its tariff revenue.
And because of this slowdown, the Philippines need to achieve 7 percent growth in the fourth quarter to attain the government's target of 6.5 to 6.9 percent growth for 2018.
Though the government is not happy with the third quarter growth, Pernia said they still comforted that the Philippines remained as one of the "fastest-growing economies" in Asia.
The Philippines is next to Vietnam with 7.0 percent growth, China at 6.5 percent and ahead of 5.2 percent of Indonesia, Pernia said. Ella Dionisio/ DMS