THE WORLD BANK has maintained its 6.4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for the Philippines this year which the global lender penciled in its economic update in April, even as the latest forecast is 0.1 percentage point less than its January estimate.

The June issue of its Global Economic Prospects, titled: “Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investments”, that was released on Wednesday also shows the World Bank maintaining the Philippines’ 2020 and 2021 GDP growth projections at the 6.5% penciled in April, though also down 0.1 percentage point from January forecasts.

The World Bank’s 2019 projection for the Philippines compares to the country’s 6.2% economic expansion last year and the government’s downward-revised 6-7% target for this year.

At that 2019 projection, the Philippines will outpace most major East Asia and Pacific countries — China’s 6.2%, Indonesia’s 5.2%, Malaysia’s 4.6% and Thailand’s 3.5% — except Vietnam, which is expected to expand by 6.6%.

“In the Philippines, private consumption is rebounding amid slowing inflation and improving employment conditions,” the report read.

“In addition, election-related spending in the first half of 2019 is giving the economy an additional boost and is partly mitigating the impact of weakening exports.”

The global lender expects East Asia and the Pacific to growth by 5.9% this year and next year, and by a slower 5.8% in 2021. The region’s 2019 and 2020 projections are down 0.1 point from January estimates, while the 2021 forecast was maintained. “In Asia, activity is gradually decelerating but remains robust, with output in may countries expanding at a rate of 6-7% despite moderating export growth,” the report read.

Global growth projection has also been slashed by 0.3 point to 2.6% this year, “reflecting weaker-than-expected international trade and investment at the start of the year”. The World Bank expects global growth to pick up gradually to 2.7% next year and then to 2.8% in 2021.

“There’s been a tumble in business confidence, a deepening slowdown in global trade and sluggish investment in emerging and developing economies,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a call with reporters.

“Momentum remains fragile.” — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio with Bloomberg