THE WORLD BANK has raised its economic growth forecast for this year on the back of upbeat expansion in the second and third quarters.

The multilateral lender said in a statement on Friday that it has updated its 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection to 6.7% from the 6.6% stated in its East Asia and the Pacific Economic Update report published in October.

The hike in its growth projection was attributed to the stronger-than-expected 6.9% economic expansion posted in the third quarter, as well as the upward revision of second-quarter GDP growth to 6.7% from 6.5%.

“Continued global economic recovery gaining steam has led to higher than expected export growth for the Philippines and an encouraging upturn for the third quarter of 2017,” Birgit Hansl, World Bank Lead Economist for the Philippines was quoted as saying in the statement.

It added that improved global trade due to simultaneous recovery in major advanced and developing economies meant “stronger import demand from the country’s main trading partners, such as the United States, Japan, and Europe” for the Philippines.

Meanwhile, World Bank’s 2018 GDP growth forecast remains at 6.7%.

“If investment growth accelerates faster along with increased spending in public infrastructure, economic expansion can be even higher in 2017 and 2018 and exceed the current projection of 6.7%,” Ms. Hansl noted.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) also recently raised its economic growth forecast for the country to 6.7% from 6.5%, citing accelerating infrastructure spending and robust growth.

The World Bank’s and ADB’s shared forecast is slightly faster than the 6.6% GDP growth print expected by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for this year.

For next year, IMF sees the economy growing by 6.7%, while ADB and ESCAP see GDP expanding by 6.8%. — KANV