The Philippine economy grew 6.9% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, the fastest rate in three years and the highest among Asian economies, the government said Thursday. "We are pleased to be turning over a strong and stable economy onto the next administration," Socio-economic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra said.
In Asia, the second-fastest growth was posted by China on 6.7%, with third place claimed by Vietnam's 5.5%, followed by Indonesia's 4.9% growth and Malaysia's 4.2%, Esguerra said. "Barring a significant drop in business confidence in the second half, the economy seems to be on track in meeting the full-year target of 6.8% to 7.8%," Esguerra added.
The main driver for the growth in the first quarter was the services sector followed by industry, the Philippine Statistics Authority said. Agriculture contracted by 4.4%, the fourth consecutive quarterly decline, amid the El Nino drought. Gross national product, which includes income from abroad including remittances from an estimated 10 million overseas Filipinos, grew 7.6%, the highest since 2013, the authority added