Economy expands at 6.8% in the first quarter

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The Philippine economy grew 6.8% in the first quarter of 2018, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

The January-March gross domestic product (GDP) growth figure was faster than the revised 6.5% growth recorded in the same period in 2017. This also matched the 6.8% median estimate in a BusinessWorld poll last week.

GDP Poll new

The first quarter output was near the low-end of the government’s 7-8% target band for 2018.

The industry sector led growth among major sectors at 7.9%, faster than the 6.5% recorded in the same period last year. Services also grew by 7% from 6.7% in 2017.

Output in agriculture also grew by 1.5%, but was slower than the 4.9% growth posted previously.

On the expenditure side, household spending was up 5.6 % during the period, slightly lower than the 5.9% recorded in the first quarter of 2017.

Government spending picked up steam during the quarter, growing by 13.6% from 0.1% in the same period last year. Capital formation was likewise up by 12.5% from 11.4%.

Exports of goods and services grew by 6.2%, slower than 2017’s 17.4%. Meanwhile, imports grew 9.3% from 18.7% last year.

Gross national income – the sum of the nation’s GDP and net income received from overseas – recorded a growth of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2018, up from 6.3% previously. — Ranier Olson R. Reusora