Philippine GDP

Philippines’ GDP grows 5.6% in 2021, beating revised target

Ralf Rivas

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Philippines’ GDP grows 5.6% in 2021, beating revised target

CAPITAL REGION. Businesses adjusted to waves of COVID-19 infections.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) With GDP growth exceeding expectations in 2021, the Philippines is optimistic that it will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels and attain upper-middle income country status in 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.6% in 2021, beating the target that the government revised multiple times throughout the year as businesses adjusted to waves of COVID-19 infections.

For the fourth quarter alone, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported 7.7% growth.

From October to December or prior to the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Philippines saw a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases, encouraging most businesses to open at full capacity.

Industry and services grew 9.5% and 7.9%, respectively during the last quarter, while agriculture inched up 1.4% despite the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December.

During the last quarter, food service activities, construction, and transportation posted double-digit growth rates.

“This growth performance was much faster than most analyst forecasts, making the country’s expansion among the highest in the region. This sends a strong signal that we are on track to rapid recovery despite the impact of Typhoon Odette,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Budget and Management Officer-in-Charge Tina Canda in a joint statement.

The Philippines’ GDP growth in 2021 exceeded expectations in the region. Analysts had expected growth in Southeast Asia to settle within 1% to 4%. Vietnam posted growth of 2.6%, while Singapore’s GDP jumped by 7.5%.

A downward revision for the third quarter pushed down the Philippines’ full-year GDP figure. From 7.1%, the PSA revised it to 6.9%.

State economic managers aimed for GDP for the entire 2021 to grow between 5% and 5.5%.

But prior to this, the government targeted a lower GDP growth rate of somewhere between 4% and 5%. Before that, it aimed for higher GDP growth of 6% to 7%. Then prior to newer COVID-19 variants, state economists were eyeing 6.5% to 7.5%.

GDP is the value of all finished goods and services produced within the country in a specific period. It serves as a scorecard of the economy.

The latest GDP figure is an improvement from 2020’s 9.6% drop.

The government, so far, is keeping the ambitious target of 7% to 9% growth for 2022.

“We are optimistic that we will not only recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2022, but achieve the upper-middle income country status,” the economic managers said. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.