By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) still forecasts 6.4 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Philippines this year despite external risks but efforts to avoid budget delays is a positive GDP move.
“The main short-term risks facing the Philippine economy stem from external sources. Notwithstanding the recent easing of the US-China trade tensions, global policy uncertainties remain elevated while business sentiments remain depressed and continue to weigh on investment spending,” according to Singapore-based AMRO’s report on the Philippines. The report was based on its Annual Consultation Visit to the country last October and on the latest data as of the first week of February.
The report cited the current global economy slowdown leading to market volatilities but also took note of the moderating oil prices and that “global financial conditions have eased following the dovish pivot by major central banks at the beginning of 2019, providing a respite for emerging markets central banks.”
On the local side, AMRO said however that the property sector may be vulnerable to “downward pressures” because of the government’s policy restrictions on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and a ban on the establishment of new economic zones in the National Capital Region.
It added that the macro-financial surveillance “should be strengthened and potential risks from a downward adjustment in the property market should be closely monitored.” The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), it said, should “continue to enhance the comprehensiveness, coverage and timeliness of financial surveillance database, particularly those of large conglomerates.”