Government data released on Thursday showed that the fourth-quarter growth rate stood at 7.7%. This is faster than the downward revised 6.9% in the third quarter, but faster than the -8.3% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The latest figure is also faster than expected, both by the government and the private sector.
“This growth performance was much faster than most analyst forecasts, making the country’s expansion among the highest in the region,” economic managers said in a statement read by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua at a virtual briefing.
“This sends a strong signal that we are on track to rapid recovery despite the impact of Typhoon Odette,” he added.
Chua noted that total damage from Odette were recorded at P33.4 billion or 0.17% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Initial estimates indicate that the full-year growth was reduced by 0.05 percentage points due to the storm.
Main growth contributors for the period were manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
All major economic sectors posted positive growth during the quarter, with agriculture up 1.4%, industry up 9.5%, services up by 7.9%.
The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in December raised the economic growth target for 2021 to 5% to 5.5% from the previous range of 4% to 5%.
Household spending for the year rose by 4.2%, government spending by 19.0%, exports by 7.8%, and imports by 12.9%.
“The strong 2021 performance shows us that we are on the correct path to a resilient recovery. The stage is now set for growth to accelerate in 2022,” the economic managers said.
“We are optimistic that we will not only recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2022, but achieve the upper-middle income country status,” they added.
Officials earlier said the Philippines is expected to graduate into an upper-middle income country this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is later than the initially expected 2019.
The World Bank defines an upper middle-income economy as a country which has gross national income (GNI) per capita of between $3,956 and $12,235.
“We will continue to pursue structural reforms that will make the country more resilient against future crises and solidify our growth prospects,” the economic managers said. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News