Philippines to Emerge on Top of ASEAN-5 Neighbors

The Philippines is expected to be the top performer among the ASEAN-5 in terms of expansion within the next five years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD said growth forecasts in the region that includes Southeast Asia, China and India are “favorable overall,” even with domestic and international risks.

The OECD said that the Philippines is another economy driven by domestic demand, supported by political stability and remittances from overseas. Growth in the country is seen to be favorable in the medium term. The keys to sustained growth, according to the OECD, are the success of measures to reduce unemployment, create jobs, and improve infrastructure.

In the report titled “Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2015: Strengthening Institutional Capacity”, the OECD is optimistic about growth prospects over the next five years. The region’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to hit 6.5 percent on average annually from 2015 to 2019, slightly lower than its 6.9 percent 2014 to 2018 growth forecast.

The OECD said slowdown in China will affect growth in the region, but the 10 ASEAN countries can still look forward to a “robust” growth momentum. The Philippines is expected to emerge ahead of other ASEAN-5 countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand, with an average GDP growth forecast of 6.2% annually from 2015 to 2019. This is up from the OECD’s 5.8 percent projection for 2014 to 2018.

On the back of stellar growth in the past two years and the second quarter of this year, the Philippine government expects the economy to grow 6.5-to 7.5 percent in 2014, 7-8 percent in 2015, and 7.5-8.5 percent in 2016. The actual 2014 year to date GDP growth for the country was far below expectations, however, hitting an average of only 5.8 percent.