The Philippine economy posted a strong rate of growth in the final quarter of 2013, which also saw the nation being hit by an earthquake and super-typhoon Haiyan, its deadliest ever, which claimed thousands of lives and left behind hundreds of millions of dollars worth of destruction.
Helped along by government spending and consumer demand, Gross Domestic Product for the fourth quarter was recorded at 6.5 percent, according to data released Thursday by the National Statistical Coordination Board. The economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2 percent in 2013. According to forecasts, the economy was expected to grow at 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“The Philippine economy clearly still has strong momentum despite the typhoon,” Edward Teather, an economist at UBS AG, told Bloomberg, before sounding a note of caution: “That sort of strength in the context of an acceleration in developed nations increases the risk of overheating, something policy makers should keep an eye on.”
According to Bloomberg data, the annual GDP growth rate of 7.2 percent recorded by the Philippines in 2013 compared to 6.8 percent in the previous year, is the fastest rate of growth seen in a two-year period since 1954-1955.
The Philippines’ annual growth rate puts it near the top of the heap among the best-performing economies in Asia, and second only to China's, which grew at 7.7 percent last year.
According to a Manila Bulletin report from December, damage to the country’s agriculture sector and infrastructure from Haiyan, which is locally known as Yolanda, was estimated to be worth 35 billion pesos ($772 million).
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balicasan said, during a televised press conference according to the Manila Bulletin, that the country’s economy could have done even better had it not been for disasters such as the Bohol earthquake and Yolanda. The 7.2-magnitude Bohol earthquake struck the island province in the Central Visayas region on Oct. 15 killing 156 people, according to official statistics.
“Overall, however, the fourth quarter and full-year 2013 real GDP growth has surpassed the expectations of both the public and private sectors,” Balicasan said, the Bulletin reported.