3 reasons behind Philippines' unexpected growth

The Philippines saw its economy grow at its fastest pace in almost three years, surpassing other economies in the region, including China. Here's why.

The Philippines saw its economy grow at its fastest pace in almost three years, surpassing other nations in the region, including China, which have experienced a slowdown in recent months.

The country's first quarter GDP rose 7.8 percent from the same period last year, according to data released by the National Statistical Coordination Board. The figure beat all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 economists, whose median was 6 percent, reported Bloomberg. Philippines' currency, the peso, also rebounded from an 11-month low.

The unexpected growth has been largely fueled by a combination of a rise in state spending, much of it towards a massive infrastructure spending program, consistent consumer spending by the local population and the continued inflow of remittances from overseas workers, the NSCB said.

While the rest of the Asian economy cools down, the Philippines has ramped up state spending, investing heavily in domestic infrastructure. The nation's Department of Public Works and Highways recorded an 86 percent leap in infrastructure spending to 34.8 billion pesos ($8.2 billion) in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year, the agency reported last month.

Meanwhile, the country's consumers remained relatively upbeat, continuing to spend money, even as exports fell 6.2 percent in the first quarter. And the inflow remittances from overseas workers accelerated the net primary income from the rest of the world to grow by 3.2 percent boosting the Gross National Income (GNI) growth to 7.1 percent from 5.7 percent in 2012, the NSCB said.

Photo: Flickr user Roberto Verzo

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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