Pernia expects 6% economic growth in Q2

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The country's economy likely picked up in the second quarter of 2019, on the back of higher spending and lowering prices of commodities, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines after Duterte's fourth State of the Nation Address in Quezon City Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he expects the economy to post at least six percent growth from April to June.

Pernia cited higher spending in line with "acceleration in the [administration's] 'Build, Build, Build' program and the "continuing slowdown in inflation" as the main drivers of the foreseen growth.

Inflation averaged 3 percent from April-June, slipping from 3.9 percent in the first quarter. June inflation also hit 2.7 percent, the lowest in almost two years as most food, fuel, and utility costs continued to drop.

If realized, the rate is higher than the 5.6 percent from January to March, a four-year low attributed to the delayed passage of the 2019 national budget.

This is also at the same pace as the Asian Development Bank's forecast for the period.

The ADB's fresh forecast is lower than the 6.4 percent it gave in April and the 6.7 percent penciled in December last year. It would still be within the government's 6-7 percent growth target, and will match the growth rate logged in 2018.

The economic managers have a growth goal of 6-7 percent for 2019.