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Philippines Q4 GDP grows 7.2%, faster than forecast

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MANILA — The Philippine economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2% in the fourth quarter, the statistics agency said on Thursday, beating expectations.

Economists in a Reuters poll had expected gross domestic product (GDP) to rise 6.5% in the last three months of 2022 from a year earlier. Third quarter growth was 7.6%.

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Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed the stellar fourth-quarter performance to pent up demand following the lifting of pandemic restrictions and full reopening in the last three months of the year.

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“We are confident that we will remain in our high growth trajectory,” Baliscan told a media briefing.

He said China’s reopening was sure to be a boon for the Philippine economy, while protecting the purchasing power of Filipinos and ensuring food security would remain priorities for the government.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP came in at 2.4% in October-December, compared with expectations for a 1.5% rise and the previous quarter’s upwardly revised 3.3% growth.

For the full-year of 2022, growth was 7.6%, above the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5%, and stronger than the previous year’s 5.7% expansion.

The government has set a 6.0 to 7.0% GDP growth target for 2023. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)

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