Philippines - Filipino currency, Peso bank notes - photo by B.Henry

Philippines – Filipino currency, Peso bank notes – photo by B.Henry

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippine economy will remain robust this quarter and next, according to an index of 11 key data collated by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

In a report released late Tuesday, the NSCB said the composite leading economic indicator (LEI) – a short-term forecasting tool made up of data tracking the expansion the economy – increased to 0.181 in the fourth quarter from an upwardly revised 0.046 in the third quarter.

The LEI “continued its upward streak in the fourth quarter of 2013, signifying that the economy may be expected to sustain its upward direction during this quarter,” NSCB noted.

“This acceleration indicates the continued satisfactory performance of the country’s economy until the end of the year,” it added.

For the third quarter, eight of the 11 indicators, which account for 77.6 percent of the total from 82.4 percent in the third quarter, contributed positively: money supply, wholesale price index, total merchandise imports, hotel occupancy rate, terms of trade index, electric energy consumption, number of new businesses, and stock price index.

Money supply grew at its fastest pace in over a decade at 30.9 percent to P6 trillion in August from a year earlier, as lending remained brisk and effects of adjustments in the central bank’s deposit window found its way into the economy.

Money supply is expected by the NSCB to continue expanding significantly for the rest of the year.

The NSCB said negative contributors, beginning with the largest negative contributor, were foreign exchange rate, visitor arrivals, and consumer price index.

The Philippine economy grew by 7.6 percent in the first half, the fastest in Southeast Asia.

Robust consumption and investments will allow the economy to expand by more than 7 percent in the third quarter and beat government’s 6 to 7 percent growth goal this year, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has said.

“This is something expected,” Patrick Ella, economist at Security Bank Corp., said Wednesday, referring to government projections.

Citing his own estimates, Ella noted growth in third and fourth quarters will register around 7 percent, with the last quarter of the year likely posting a stronger growth.

Other than money supply, sustained rise in factory output and automobile sales point to robust growth in this quarter and next, he said. (MNS)