MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed down to 6.1% during the 3rd quarter of 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Thursday, November 8.
"We are not exactly exuberant about the 6.1% growth rate, but still comforted that we remain one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, next to Vietnam at 7%, China at 6.5%, and way ahead of Indonesia at 5.2%," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
With this, the Philippines needs to expand by at least 7% in the 4th quarter to attain the low end of the government's target of 6.5% to 6.9% growth for the entire 2018.
Pernia said the government is concerned about the slowdown in household consumption during the 3rd quarter.
It only grew at 5.2% compared to the 2nd quarter's 5.9%.
The slowdown in economic growth comes amid inflation reaching a 9-year high of 6.7% in October.
Meanwhile, the agriculture sector's growth rate contracted to -0.03%.
Pernia called on the Department of Agriculture and legislators to implement policy reforms, especially for rice and sugar.
"Some of these legal and regulatory frameworks are more than 4 decades old – very antiquated and fossilized; they have not resulted in agricultural development and with a growing population, an advancing economy, and climate change, these regulations have had adverse consequences on the economy, especially the poor members of our society," Pernia said.
He urged Congress to pass without delay the rice tariffication bill, which would supposedly reduce rice prices by P2 to P7 per kilo and help enhance the productivity of farmers through tariff revenues which would be given to them to improve their performance.
Growth targets for 2019 to 2022 range from 7% to 8%.
The latest figure was recorded amid inflation reaching a 9-year high of 6.7% in October and a weaker peso.
The World Bank expects GDP growth to average at 6.5% in 2018, lower than its initial optimistic forecast of 6.7%.