Traders are seen at their work stations underneath an electronic board with stocks figures at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Center in Pasig City, east of Manila, Philippines, 28 August 2013. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA
MANILA: The Philippines economy expanded 7.5 percent in the April-June quarter, data showed Thursday, thanks to an increase in government spending and growth in consumer spending.
The second-quarter figures provide a welcome boost to the government at a time when the country's stock market and currency slump as foreign investors pull out of emerging economies in expectation of an end to the US Federal Reserve's stimulus.
Thursday's data are a sharp improvement from the 6.3 percent seen in the same period in 2012, the National Statistical Coordination Board said, while it also marks the fourth straight quarter of growth above 7.0 percent.
The economy is now expanding faster than any other in Southeast Asia, while the second-quarter results are in line with growth in regional powerhouse China.
Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the news indicated that growth in 2013 would be higher than initially forecast.
"I think we will likely surpass the target growth of 6.0-7.0 percent for the full year."
"What we have to sustain now is investment in order to create quality jobs," he told reporters.
"We are in a better position than many of the emerging economies," he said.
His comments come as the Philippines like several emerging markets around the world, sees huge outflows of cash that had been pumped into the economy over the past year as the Fed kept interest rates ultra-low.
The foreign withdrawal has seen markets from Manila to Jakarta to Bangkok slump in recent weeks and their currencies tumble.
The pesos has fallen about 8.5 percent against the dollar since May.
But while Balisacan said the economy had been affected the fears over the Fed's stimulus programme, he added: "It is important to recognise the volatility is largely externally driven," he said.
It also brings GDP growth in the first six months of 2013 to 7.6 percent, compared with 6.4 percent in the same period in 2012. (AFP)