THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND HAS raised its growth forecast for the Philippines, taking into account an improved global economic outlook that is seen to benefit the country through higher exports, remittances and foreign investments.
The multilateral agency now expects the Philippine economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, to grow 3.6 percent this year, faster than its earlier projection of 3.2 percent.
The latest IMF projection approximates the high end of the government?s own economic growth forecast of between 2.6 and 3.6 percent.
The new IMF forecast for the Philippines is consistent with its revised global economic growth assumption for 2010 of 3 percent, up from 2.5 percent previously.
Growth projections by the IMF and the government for this year assumes that the global economic recovery would increase job opportunities that, in turn, should translate to higher remittances, and that global demand would expand, specifically for the Philippines? export products.
Philippine exports have started to rebound, with figures from the National Statistics Office showing that shipments in the first two months of 2010 surging 42 percent to $7.15 billion.
The IMF said the entire Asean region was expected to do well this year.
?The Asean economies are projected to grow 5.5 percent in 2010. Private domestic demand is expected to be the main driver of growth, with net exports playing a lesser role than in the past, reflecting stronger imports relative to historical standards,? the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook released yesterday.
The IMF expects the Philippines and its neighbors to grow at even faster rates in 2011. It projects growth of 4 percent for the Philippines and 5.6 percent for the entire Asean region.
Faster growth is seen to push consumer prices up, the IMF said, but inflation could stay within targeted levels. For the Philippines, the IMF sees inflation hitting 5 percent this year, up from 3.9 percent in 2009. The forecast is also within the government?s inflation target of between 3.5 and 5.5 percent.
The IMF?s move to raise its growth forecast for the Philippines followed similar moves by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
The World Bank raised its growth forecast for the Philippines from 3.1 to 3.5 percent, while the ADB adjusted its own to 3.8 percent from 3.3 percent.