MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the second quarter and tied with Malaysia as the second fastest growing in Asia during the period, officials said Thursday.
The April-June growth was higher than the 5.6 percent posted in the first quarter, driven by industry, which grew by 7.8 percent, followed by services, which posted 6.0 percent growth, the government statistics agency reported.
"This higher growth rate, coming from a high base a year ago shows that the economy is back on the higher trajectory," said Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
He said it bodes well for the rest of 2014.
Growth in the first quarter was dampened by a major earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan that wreaked havoc in the central Philippines late last year.
"Overall we see that the country still has a strong likelihood of achieving the full year growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent," Balisacan said. Surveys show that businesses have a "positive outlook" on the economy.
He said agriculture rebounded from its 0.2 percent contraction in the second quarter of 2013, posting 3.6 percent growth in the same period this year. Livestock and poultry will likely grow as consumer demand increases with the approach of the Christmas holiday season.
Industry's 7.8 percent growth was partly moderated by the weak performance of construction, particularly public construction, whose decline resulted from lower spending for infrastructure and capital outlays, he said.
The lower disbursements by major government agencies were due to delayed submission of budgetary requirements, validation of proposed programs and revision of work programs to respond to the reconstruction needs in areas devastated by Haiyan
Balisacan said the government is addressing the "administrative bottlenecks," citing an almost 45 percent increase in disbursements in June.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that with a projected population of nearly 100 million in the second quarter this year, per capita GDP grew by 4.6 percent, down from 6.0 percent for the same period in 2013.