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Philippines' Q2 GDP growth rises to 5.6%

MANILA, Philippines (2ND UPDATE) – The Philippine economy grew 5.6% in the second quarter, fighting a regional slowdown with the help of strong performance of industry and services sectors and robust government spending.

Although the second quarter growth is higher than the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) performance of 5%, it still lags behind the government's and economists' forecasts.

The general consensus was 5.7% – a "magic number" hoped to buoy the country's growth for the rest of the year, following a dismal first quarter performance.

The previous quarter's growth is also lower than the 6.7% reported in the same period last year. (READ: PH economy picks up steam in 2nd quarter)

The latest GDP figure also caused the Philippines to slip as the third highest among Asia's major economies, behind China and Vietnam. 

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the 5.6% growth was mainly driven by the services sector, which accelerated to 6.2% from 5.9%. The agriculture sector pulled down the GDP growth with -0.4%.

On the eve of the second quarter GDP growth announcement, the PSA revised downward the Philippine economy's first quarter growth to 5% from the previous 5.2%. (READ: PH 1st quarter GDP lowered to 5%)

'Respectable' growth

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that the 5.6% second quarter growth is "respectable," and makes the Philippines still an attractive market with strong economic fundamentals.

"Although slightly below the government’s target, it is important to ensure that the growth momentum is sustained," said Balisacan, who is National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief.

He said that the second quarter GDP growth "reflects significant improvement in government spending, especially in public construction" and  "indicates the sustained strong performance of the private sector."

Balisacan added that the latest figures reflected the Philippines' "resiliency from the prevailing weaknesses of the global economy."