2021 recovery still ‘promising’—Dominguez

Published August 11, 2021, 2:33 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The government’s chief economic manager said the country’s recovery remains “promising” despite “speed bumps” this year.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said he is still optimistic over the Philippines’ “promising” prospects for a strong economic rebound in 2021 owing to the government’s scaled-up vaccination program.

“Overall, prospects for a strong economic rebound in 2021 remain promising. Although there may be speed bumps ahead, we are well on our way to the path of solid recovery,” Dominguez said Wednesday, August 11.

He said the mass vaccination program is headed “in the right direction” as the country has been receiving a steady supply of vaccines from multiple sources and inoculating its adult population at a steady pace.

“We have endured much since the outbreak of this pandemic. But I am fairly certain that we have gone through the worst part of this global health emergency,” Dominguez said.

“As soon as the infections are contained, we will be ready to rise as one with your help,” he added.

Last Tuesday, the Philippine Statistic Authority reported that the economy, as measured by the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), accelerated by 11.8 percent in the second-quarter, its strongest performance in more than three-decades.

Dominguez said record performance was driven by “more than just base effects” and “the result of a better balance between meeting the exigencies of economic concerns and the health requirements of our COVID-19 response.”

However, the economy was also seen losing some momentum as the second-quarter GDP showed a contraction of 1.3 percent compared with the January to March output. In the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted GDP grew 0.3 percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the slight decline in seasonally adjusted GDP was driven by driven by stricter quarantine controls in April.

The economy still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels. At constant prices, GDP was estimated at P8.9 trillion in the first semester, six percent lower than the P9.4 trillion in the same period in 2019.

Nicholas T. Mapa, ING Bank Manila senior economist said the economic outlook for 2021 is dimmed as recovery momentum started to fade despite a double-digit expansion rate last quarter.

Mapa noted that strict movement controls to manage the spread of the pandemic in April and August have derailed the economic recovery. “We can expect this trend to continue in the second half of the year.”

The government expects full-year economic growth to come in between 6.0 percent and 7.0 percent. To hit at least the low-end of the target, the economy should expand 8.2 percent in July to December.