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Philippine economy grows 6.4 per cent in 2Q, officials expect to hit 2014 target

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MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 per cent in the second quarter and tied with Malaysia as the second fastest growing in Asia during the period, officials said Thursday.

The April-June growth was higher than the 5.6 per cent posted in the first quarter, driven by industry, which grew by 7.8 per cent, followed by services, which posted 6.0 per cent growth, the government statistics agency reported.

"This higher growth rate, coming from a high base a year ago shows that the economy is back on the higher trajectory," said Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

He said it bodes well for the rest of 2014.

Growth in the first quarter was dampened by a major earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan that wreaked havoc in the central Philippines late last year.

"Overall we see that the country still has a strong likelihood of achieving the full year growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent," Balisacan said. Surveys show that businesses have a "positive outlook" on the economy.

He said agriculture rebounded from its 0.2 per cent contraction in the second quarter of 2013, posting 3.6 per cent growth in the same period this year. Livestock and poultry will likely grow as consumer demand increases with the approach of the Christmas holiday season.

Industry's 7.8 per cent growth was partly moderated by the weak performance of construction, particularly public construction, whose decline resulted from lower spending for infrastructure and capital outlays, he said.

The lower disbursements by major government agencies were due to delayed submission of budgetary requirements, validation of proposed programs and revision of work programs to respond to the reconstruction needs in areas devastated by Haiyan

Balisacan said the government is addressing the "administrative bottlenecks," citing an almost 45 per cent increase in disbursements in June.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that with a projected population of nearly 100 million in the second quarter this year, per capita GDP grew by 4.6 per cent, down from 6.0 per cent for the same period in 2013.

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