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PIA Press Release
2008/03/10

Commentary: RP economy in good shape despite political noise, US economic downturn

By Minerva BC Newman

Cebu, Philippines (10 March) -- The Philippine economic landscape has remained in good shape and un-affected with the on-going political noise in Manila and the economic recession in the United States. It is said to have the best economic position in the Southeast Asian region.

Thus said anHongkong based economist, Nicholas Kwan who was in Cebu recently to hold an Economic Briefing for the clients of Standard Chartered Bank in Cebu. He is the regional head of research of the said bank.

Kwan said, the country's economic policies, fiscal management and its strong dollar remittances from its overseas Filipino workers (OFW) had shielded the country from the external factors especially with the widening effect of the US economic downturn.

"It is very unlikely that the Philippines will get the same growth as last year, but it is still seen to achieve sustainable growth this year," Kwan said.

He further said that the country's inflation rate reached to its lowest in 21 years in 2007 and that its current and fiscal accounts were at their best in 10 years, the country is no longer in deficit. "These numbers mean a lot," Kwan added.

If the Philippines can maintain its economic policies, it is in good position to withstand the negative external factors. Kwan said the country has strong foreign reserve and sound fiscal and economic policies, thus improving companies' balance sheets.

Kwan also told the media that the US today is facing the worst economic downturn in the 20 years and the "world economy is not doing well."

"Luckily, the Asian region is still in its best position to withstand the US economic debacle. Growth are still projected in China, Vietnam and India," he said.

Recently, a top executive of the US-based Citicorp International Advisory Board (CIAB) cited the impressive gains of the Philippine economy.

James Wolfensohn, CIAB chairman, who paid a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said he was deeply impressed by the phenomenal achievements of the country's economy.

"The economic strides made by the Philippines under the Arroyo leadership have been amazing," he said and he thanked the President for the opportunity to talk to her.

From a precarious meltdown mode in 2001, the Philippines vaulted into No. 25 position among the largest newly industrialized emerging markets in the world in 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, the Philippines posted a real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 7.3 percent last year, its fastest pace in 30 years.

Wolfensohn told the President he was amazed that the country's economy managed to reach its present position in less than six years since the President took the reins of government in 2002. (PIA-Cebu) [top]

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