IMF cites PHL growth, PBBM sees 7% for ’22, ’23

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EXCEPTIONALLY well-performing.

This was how International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva described the country’s economic performance during her meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday.

Georgieva said she was impressed with how the country was still able to grow significantly despite the international global challenges last year caused by the pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Last month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2022 will be at least 7.5 percent.

“We found the Philippines to be an exceptionally well-performing country…what you have done in the last year of turbulence to sustain growth…is quite commendable,” Georgieva said during the meeting.

She said the IMF is ready to continue extending support to members, including the Philippines, so they could reach their economic targets.

The Philippines joined the IMF on December 27, 1945.

“We have been really interested to engage more deeply with our members to recognize the traditional challenges…they are still there,” Georgieva said.

Marcos said the government is currently facing challenges in terms of food and energy security.

Other issues, which need to be addressed, he said, are the gaps in the country’s infrastructure requirements as well as climate change response.

‘Room to grow’

PHILIPPINE economic growth will likely hold steady at around 7 percent this year, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said, crediting strong fundamentals that would help the nation post the fastest expansion in Asia amid a dimmer global outlook.

“There is so much space, room to grow, in the sense that we are starting very many new things now,” Marcos said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin on the sidelines of the WEF in Davos.

The economy has been “rather stable” and unemployment is continuing to decline, he said. Marcos said the domestic economy “will be able to manage at least 7-percent growth for last year” and expand by a similar pace in 2023.

Marcos has faced numerous economic challenges in his first six months as the country’s leader, including tight public finances and rising borrowing costs. Soaring prices of essential goods from sugar to onions have driven inflation to a 14-year high and Marcos, who is also helming the agriculture department, has said farm production will be ramped up to rein imports and prices.

Like most in Southeast Asia, Marcos has sought to balance interests between US and China. He has tried to cooperate with China in agriculture and infrastructure and met with President Xi Jinping earlier this month, agreeing to pursue South China Sea energy exploration talks.

Tensions between Manila and Beijing in the disputed sea have risen recently, with the Southeast Asian nation expressing “great concern” over Chinese vessels massing off its western coast. China is building up several unoccupied land features in the South China Sea, Bloomberg News reported in December.

More from Marcos:

• On taming inflation: “The long-term solution of course will be to increase production. That is what we are working on.”

• On US security support in the South China Sea: “They have already made that commitment. As a matter of fact, when there are certain reports that come in, some of the American ships come down and make their presence felt. We were hoping that we keep and maintain that at that level.”

• On exploration with China: “We may find a way around that if we limit it to exploration, and hopefully, I think there’s still some give and take possible there.”

• On leading the agriculture department: “We have started to rationalize the system because the illegal imports have been a problem.”

With assistance from Niluksi Koswanage/Bloomberg

Image credits: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg