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PHL economy seen to grow by 5.3% in 2021

THE ECONOMY could grow by 5.6% this year, boosted by the faster-than-expected third quarter expansion and increased business activities following the easing of mobility restrictions, Sun Life Investment Management and Trust Corp. (SLIMTC) said.

In a presentation at a briefing on Friday, SLIMTC President Michael Gerard D. Enrique said their latest 2021 growth forecast is higher than the 4.5% estimate they gave in October.

“The fourth quarter estimate previously was at 6%, now it’s at 6.6%. The third quarter really surprised. With looser restrictions, more mobility is happening during the fourth quarter, and people are more optimistic in terms of their sentiment spend,” Mr. Enrique said in an online briefing.

More businesses have expanded their operations as restrictions were eased after a decline in coronavirus cases.

In the third quarter, Philippine GDP grew by 7.1% year on year. This brought the nine-month average to 4.9%, which is near the upper end of the government’s downward-revised 4-5% target.

In 2022, Mr. Enriquez said SMILTC expects the economy to grow by 5-7%.

However, the possibility of a spike in infections due to the Omicron variant could dampen growth prospects.

“The consumption story and business confidence can spiral back down if we see more alert levels to go up again,” he said.

“We were expecting election-related spending to be a bit muted given that there may be some mobility restrictions but as we see it now, we may expect more normalcy in terms of how we’ve seen previous election campaigns in terms of consumption spending,” Mr. Enriquez added. – LWTN

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