Palace blames inflation for missed 2018 GDP growth target
MANILA, Philippines — Last year’s inflation, which hit a new 10-year high, is to blame for the Philippine economy’s slower pace in 2018, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark after the economy grew 6.2 percent in 2018 as the 2018 fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) settled at 6.1 percent, bringing the full-year average below the 6.5-6.9 percent goal.
“That was because of the inflation eh. Inflation rate ang naging problema, ‘yan ang sinasabi ng economic managers,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing, adding that the full-year average is just “okay” considering the “circumstances surrounding the economy.”
Panelo, though, claimed that the government is “disappointed” for not reaching the 2018 target.
“Kung may target ka at ‘di mo nakuha, syempre disappointed ka. (But) it doesn’t mean you feel that you’re such a failure. You work harder para you can reach your target,” he said.
The 2018 GDP is slower than the 6.7 percent posted in 2017 and the slowest in three years.
Inflation or the rate of increase in prices of basic commodities in 2018 clocked in at 5.2 percent, which was the highest since 2008’s 8.2 percent year-on-year increase in prices. This was caused by the higher excise taxes, skyrocketing global oil prices during the third quarter, as well as food supply bottlenecks, especially of the Filipino staple rice.
The Palace official, however, insisted that the government remained optimistic that the “best is yet to come” for the Philippine economy.
“(The government’s) economic managers are very confident that we are on the right track,” Panelo said.
“Sinasabi nila na marami na tayong ginawa para ma-neutralize natin ang adverse economic conditions and they’re working now,” he added. /je
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