The National Economic and Development Authority is optimistic the economy will grow at a faster pace in the last quarter of 2019, especially with holiday spending being one of the growth drivers during the latter part of the year.
“(We can grow by) 6.5 to seven percent (in the fourth quarter),” Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary, told reporters over lunch in Pasig City last Thursday.
To recall, Pernia said at last week’s third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) press conference the Philippine economy will have to expand by at least 6.7 percent in the last quarter of the year to meet the low-end of the full-year target of six to seven percent for 2019.
Pernia said the 6.7 percent needed for the fourth quarter is “very achievable.”
“(This is) a challenge that we are confidently taking on,” he had said.
“We have seen the economy surging and the momentum will continue,” he added.
The government reported that the Philippine economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019, the fastest growth recorded so far this year.
Meanwhile, Claire Dennis Mapa, Philippine Statistics Authority undersecretary and national statistician, said consumption is seen to increase this quarter amid the holiday celebration.
The officials were asked about the possible impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF) as many Filipinos purchase roasted pork or lechon during the period.
“We can see now that the price of chicken is increasing (since it is being considered as a substitute for pork), so we expect that the price of chicken will continue to increase,” Mapa said.
“There’s been a shift, although for pork I think it will be selective, I think they will be looking at areas or maybe brands (affected by ASF), but substitution for chicken is becoming clear,” he added.
Mapa was also asked to comment on how the ASF would affect the production side of GDP since some hog raisers might not raise hogs for a year or two, and on the impact of rice farmers now thinking twice about planting palay because of importation.
Mapa said there has been a shift to high-value crops.
“If you look at the agriculture performance, it’s clear that palay production went down, but the corn and banana, for example, and then the other high value crops, so I think the idea is that they are shifting to high value crops,” he said.
“The palay, although huge in terms of volume, but the value is low, the other high value crops, those are the products that compensated for agriculture,” Mapa added.
As for livestock, he noted a slowdown in the production of hogs.
“For the third quarter, it has slowed down, not negative, but production of hogs is at 1.7 percent (growth), which is relatively slower compared to the previous quarter. Maybe in the fourth quarter it will become negative,” Mapa said.
“But the other livestock are compensating (for the slower hog production), like for chicken, it has increased to near double digits. We’re seeing a spike in chicken products, eggs also,” he added.