The Philippine economy likely expanded much faster than the government’s target of 6.5% to 7.5% last year and is forecast to grow by around 6.5% this year amid a strong manufacturing sector, stable banking system and record low unemployment, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno (pic) said.

Diokno said an expected slowdown in the global economy could impact growth for 2023 but it’s “still one of the highest if not the highest growth projection in the Asia Pacific region,” according to a statement from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s communications office issued Tuesday (Jan 17).

Diokno was speaking from Davos where he’s part of Marcos’s delegation attending the World Economic Forum.

The nation’s strong economic fundamentals can alleviate the impact of external headwinds, Diokno said, adding that opening economic sectors to foreign equity can further sustain growth. The government plans to spend at least 5%-6% of GDP on infrastructure, he said.

The latest growth projection for this year comes just over a month after Marcos’s economic team cut its 2023 growth forecast to 6%-7% from 6.5%-8% as the global outlook worsens and domestic inflation remains at a 14-year high.

The Philippine government will release fourth-quarter GDP data on Jan. 26.

Source: Bloomberg