DoF confident 2021 GDP goal ‘doable’ with 7% fourth quarter

 DoF confident 2021 GDP goal ‘doable’ with 7% fourth quarter

THE Department of Finance (DoF) said it is confident that the economy’s performance in the fourth quarter will be sufficient to help achieve the government’s growth target for 2021.

DoF Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran said the 7% fourth-quarter growth needed to hit the revised 5%-5.5% full-year gross domestic product (GDP) target is “doable” and “within range.”

In a briefing Wednesday, he noted that the volume of manufacturing output in October improved.

“Because we have further opened the markets, I think the growth rate will be sustained.”

Factory output, as measured by the volume of production index, grew 24.7% year on year in October, according to preliminary government data.

Third-quarter GDP grew 7.1%, lower than the 12% expansion in the preceding three months, after the government reintroduced lockdowns to curb a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surge led by the Delta variant of the virus.

Third-quarter growth was still stronger than expected, prompting both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to raise their full-year economic growth forecasts for the Philippines.

On Tuesday, economic managers raised the government GDP growth projection to 5-5.5% for this year from the downgraded 4-5% goal issued in August.

“Our year-to-date growth is presently — up to the end of September — 4.9%. So there’s a greater likelihood that our full-year growth will hit the revised target of our GDP growth ranging from 5-5.5% this year,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said at the briefing.

“Backed by a stronger healthcare system and the massive rollout of the vaccination program, we will solidify our recovery by reopening the economy to alert level 1 in January 2022. At the same time, to avert long-term productivity losses and restore more employment, we will resume face-to-face schooling most likely in January 2022.”

The government maintained its medium-term growth targets at 7-9% for 2022, and 6-7% for 2023 and 2024.

The Health department reported 237 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 10,193. — Jenina P. Ibanez