Typhoon damage and falling public spending slowed the Philippines' previously red-hot economy to its weakest pace in nearly three years with growth expanding 5.3 percent in the third quarter, officials said Thursday.
Fierce winds and destructive floods generated by typhoons led to a 2.7 percent year-on-year contraction in farm output, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
"Given this quarter's performance.... even meeting the low end of the target growth rate for the year could pose a big challenge," he told a news conference.
Economic output had expanded by a red-hot 7.0 percent in the same quarter last year, before Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest cyclone to ever hit land and the deadliest in the Philippines' recorded history, caused huge problems.
Even then, gross domestic product (GDP) growth rose 6.0 percent in the first half of 2014, making the Philippines one of Asia's top performers.
This also gave the government optimism that it would achieve its full 2014 GDP growth target of 6.5-7.5 percent.
However, he said typhoon damage and weaker performances in other key sectors since then meant the economy only grew 5.3 percent in the past quarter and 5.8 percent through the first nine months of the year.
Interim deputy chief statistician Romeo Recide said the third-quarter growth was the lowest since the last quarter of 2011 when it hit 3.8 percent.
Typhoon Rammasun left 111 people dead or missing, caused a million people to flee their homes and left millions of others without power for several days across the country's economic heartland in mid-July.
Balisacan said bad weather typical during the season also had a huge impact on farm output.
Apart from agriculture, Balisacan said government consumption and public construction activities slowed as President Benigno Aquino's government adjusted to "new spending protocols", some imposed to fight corruption.
He also cited the "lingering negative impact" of Haiyan, as well as delays in the layout of the government's massive post-typhoon reconstruction programme across the devastated central Philippines.
Nevertheless, Balisacan said business sentiment remained optimistic.
He said export growth was robust in the third quarter, supported by the "strengthening of the global manufacturing industry" that boosted the country's key exports of semiconductors, wiring harnesses for vehicles and garments.