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NEDA says Philippines still on track of GDP target

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Thursday expressed confidence that the country is still on track on its target gross domestic product for 2023.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said the GDP growth forecast for 2023 is at 6.5% due to the expected slowdown of the global economy.

"We are aiming for 6 to 7. I think we are not leaving that track. Remember even the IMF in its recent World Economic Outlook upgraded its outlook for the Philippines from 5 to 6%, there's a one percentage-point increase," Balisacan said in an ambush interview.

"That's the only one of very few countries that have gotten that kind of upgrade. So we are quite still optimistic despite these headwinds," Balisacan added.

Diokno earlier said the country's bustling manufacturing sector, record-low unemployment, and stable and resilient banking system can alleviate buffers against external headwinds and indicate a resilient economy.


Meanwhile, when it comes to the weakening peso, Balisacan said the Philippine government wants  "to achieve a stable exchange rate."

"I think there’s a lot of misconception about the weakening peso. In fact, when the peso depreciates a bit – not too much, because too much depreciation will cause instability and that could prevent investment – that allowing it to a lower level like what it is now can improve our competitiveness whether we are for the producers of local substitutes of imports or our exports," he explained.

"So the trick is to prevent sharp changes in those exchange rates because when you have that kind of world, it’s difficult to make decisions and therefore, investors will postpone their decisions to come to you or not, or to invest, or expand or not because they are not quite sure what the economic conditions are," he added.

On Wednesday, the Philippine peso depreciated against its US counterpart for the third straight trading day, marking its weakest showing in over four months.

The local currency shed seven centavos to close at P56.21:$1 from Tuesday’s finish of P56.14:$1. This is the worst performance since the peso closed at P56.22:$1 on December 1, 2022.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort attributed Wednesday’s depreciation to the upward correction of the US dollar against global currencies, hitting the highest in a month. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News