Buildings are seen along EDSA in Quezon City, July 3. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, The Philippine Star

MANILA – The Philippine economy expanded 6.4% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the statistics agency said on Thursday, topping expectations.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, growth slowed to 1.1% from the earlier reported 2.4% expansion in the previous three-month period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 6.1% on an annual basis.

The Southeast Asian economy’s stronger-than-expected first quarter performance was within the government’s 6.0% to 7.0% target for 2023.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in a press conference said the Philippines was returning to its high-growth trajectory, despite global headwinds, although interest rate hikes by the central bank could dampen future growth.

He said the government was ready to withstand shocks and risks to the growth outlook, adding that high inflation remained a challenge but appeared to have peaked. — Reuters