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PSA: Philippines’ GDP declines to 0.2% for Q1

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According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Philippine economy contracted by 0.2 percent as the coronavirus pandemic leaves business and households stunned under lockdown.

the PSA said the local economy shrank compared to last year’s January-March, when it grew by 5.7 percent when computed using the 2018 prices.

PSA National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa reported on Thursday that this is the first time the economy shrank since the Q4 of 1998.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Acting Secretary Karl Chua pinned the Q1 GDP decline to the following: the Taal eruption last January, the local transmission of the coronavirus, and the eventual declaration of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Luzon accounts for 70 percent of the national output.

“Containing the spread of the virus and saving hundreds of thousands of lives through the imposition of the ECQ has come at great cost to the Philippine economy,” Chua said.

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Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on Wednesday acknowledged that the GDP for the whole year “might be” worse than the estimated projection by the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

“I think April, May, and June are going to be quite bad,” said Dominguez.

NEDA’s Karl Chua also said, “Second quarter (growth) might be worse but we are using our policies to proactively manage our trajectory so that by the second half, we can recover gradually… We will see over the months if we need to be adapt and be more realistic, but I think with the progress we are seeing on the health side, there’s a very strong chance that we will have a good recovery.”

Chua stated that the country, starting this month, could revive some business activities as the gov’t loosens the strict stay-at-home rules in other parts of the country.

According to economic managers, they are looking at a “zero growth” to a 0.8 contraction scenario for 2020.

The gov’t economic team abandoned the previous growth target which was 6.5-7.5 percent for 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hijacked the economy.

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