PH GDP Growth Dips to 5.9 Percent in 2019, The Slowest in 8 Years
ILLUSTRATOR ROLAND MAE TANGLAO
The Philippine economy grew by 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, 0.4 points higher than the third quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD) growth rate of 6.0 percent. Despite the rise in GDP growth, Q4 still failed to achieve its target percentage, coming off 0.5 points shy of the revised 6.9 percent target.
The quarterly GDP growth percentages of 2019 are as follows: 5.6 percent in Q1, 5.5 percent in Q2, 6.0 percent in Q3, and 6.4 percent in Q4. That averages 2019’s GDP growth to 5.9 percent, which is just 0.1 points short of the 6.0 percent target for the entire year of 2019.
According to Ernesto Pernia, secretary of Socioeconomic Planning, and Clair Dennis Mapa, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) national statistician and civil registrar general, the net primary income of the fourth quarter grew by 4.6 percent, while the gross national income grew by 6.2 percent.
The fastest-growing sectors were reported to be: services by 7.9 percent, industry by 5.4 percent, and agriculture by 1.5 percent. These three sectors also happen to be the fastest-growing sectors of the entire year.
The major contributors to GDP growth in the fourth quarter were: trade with 1.5 percentage points, manufacturing by 0.9 percent, and construction by 0.8 percent.
Short of targets but still second best
During PSA’s previous press conference for the third quarter results, Pernia stated that the economy would have to grow by 6.7 percent in Q4 to achieve the government’s adjusted 6.0 to 6.5 growth rate goal for 2019. After the Q3 growth rate was revised to 6.0 percent, the target for Q4 was bumped up to 6.9 percent. The economy achieved only 6.4 percent, resulting in 2019’s growth rate to drop out of the target range.
The GDP growth of 2019 is now settled at 5.9 percent, just 0.1 points below the bottom rung of the GDP growth goal. This is the Philippine economy’s slowest growth rate in eight years after 2011 grew by only 3.66 percent.
“We should have grown seven percent [in 2019],” stated Pernia, who attributed these results to the delay of the passage of the 2019 budget by Congress.
Despite failing to reach targets, the Philippine economy is still the second-fastest growing economy in the region in Q4, coming after Vietnam’s seven percent and beating China’s six percent, according to Pernia.
Pernia predicts that trade tensions, the Middle East, and the weather will pose a challenge to growth in 2020.