DOF sees green shoots of recovery

Published April 26, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) said green shoots of the Philippine economic recovery are growing, citing two recent data indicating growth in trade and manufacturing sectors.

In an Economic Bulletin released by the DOF, Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran noted that recovery trends were seen both in February trade data and March manufacturing report.

Beltran said that preliminary data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showing the country’s total external trade in goods slightly rebounding by 0.6 percent in February was a positive indicator for the country.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran

Likewise, the finance official added that the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) had managed to stay above the 50 threshold from January to March, which indicated expansion of factory activities. 

Despite the favorable PSA and PMI reports, Beltran, however, said that economic recovery remains fragile due to the new and more transmissible variants of COVID-19.

“The rebound in merchandise trade and indicators of expansion in manufacturing activities signify that the green shoots of economic recovery are growing, albeit precariously given downside risks posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the uncertainties of its variants,” Beltran said.

He said the spread of the COVID-19 variants has to be contained and its risks managed, through pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions alike.

“Otherwise, draconian measures will be implemented again and the incipient recovery be, so to speak, nipped in the bud,” Beltran said.

Earlier, PSA reported that total external trade in goods increased to $12.91 billion in February after exactly a year of decline.

On the other hand, the IHS Markit PMI was registered at 52.2 in March, above the 50.0 threshold that indicates an expansion. The figure, however, is slightly lower compared with 52.5 in the previous month.

The local manufacturing sector has ended the first quarter on a positive due to “promising” output volumes despite a moderation in new order growth, IHS Markit said.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the domestic economy is expected to post a strong rebound this year, noting that the health interventions has resulted in “green shoots of recovery.”

“These green shoots indicate that the Philippine economy is on the mend. The path is clearer to a strong bounce back in 2021,” Dominguez said.