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PH economy up 7.1% in 3rd quarter

The Philippine economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter at 7.1 percent from the same period a year ago, cementing the country’s chance of achieving its full-year growth target of six to seven percent, officials said yesterday.

A rise in food manufacturing, a rebound in the agricultural sector after five consecutive quarters of decline, a jump in private investments in construction, and expansion in public construction fueled the expansion, they added. The growth rate is above the 6.2 percent rise in Gross Domestic Product in the third quarter last year, and the seven percent expansion in the first half of 2016.

Reynaldo Cancio, a director of the National Economic Development Authority, said the growth was above median market expectation of 6.8 percent and higher than major Asian economies that have released third-quarter data so far, including China’s 6.7 percent third-quarter growth. “This cements our chance of achieving our target of 6 to 7 percent for the whole of 2016,” he said.

He said the economy needs to only attain at least 3.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter to attain the low end of its growth target of seven percent for the year and to grow by 6.9 percent to attain seven percent.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the country’s latest economic growth has proven that the Duterte government is not all about carrying out an aggressive campaign against the illegal drug trade.

“The Palace is pleased to announce that the country’s gross domestic product grew strongly during the Third Quarter of 2016 at 7.1%,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

“This underscores that the Duterte Administration offers more than war on drugs and that we have a sound economic vision and agenda that will spur growth to benefit the lives of our countrymen especially the poor and the marginalized,” Andanar added. (AP and Genalyn D. Kabiling)