Statement of Finance Secretary CESAR V. PURISIMA on 2013 Q4 GDP growth
“The Philippines grew 6.5% in the last quarter of 2013 or at an astounding 7.2% for the full year. This is the country’s highest growth rate since 2010, above the 6-7% target set by the Development Budget Coordinating Council, and the 8th consecutive quarter with above 6% GDP growth during the Aquino administration. This growth demonstrates theresilience of the country even despite a slew of natural calamities that hit the nation in the last quarter of 2013. The main drivers of growth, namely manufacturing, trade, real estate, and finance, grew 12.3%, 7.4%, 6.3%, and 9.9% respectively in 2013 compared to 2012 figures.
“The Philippines continues to be the second fastest growing economy in Asia, after China, with its strengthening BPO and tourism sectors. The country’s current account surplus averages 4.3% of GDP in the last eight years, US$83.8 billion in reserves as of December 2013, compared the ASEAN average of 2.5%.
“The socio-economic and fiscal impacts of calamities such as Typhoon Yolanda stress the urgency of preparing the country against the adverse effects of climate change. However, our strong Q4 and annual 2013 growth also shows the ability of the Philippine economy due to weather these challenges due to strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Moving forward, our efforts in disaster risk management will include increasing microinsurance coverage, stimulating infrastructure development, maximizing the participation of local government units in funding, and providing a fiscal buffer against large-scale disaster responses.
“The Philippines has succeeded in many fronts under the Aquino administration. However, when it comes to ease of doing business, we still fall behind our ASEAN peers. Hence, as we approach ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, a key priority is improving the Philippines’ ease of doing business index to ASEAN levels in order to ensure a productive and conducive investment climate.