[T]hings are looking up. The economy has grown by at least 5% in each of the past three years, for the first time since the 1970s. In the first quarter of this year, growth was 6.9%, year-on-year. Soaring remittances from Filipinos overseas help. Last year they added up to $12.8 billion, equivalent to 11% of GDP. Exports—especially to China and most particularly of microchips—are also booming.
Better economic management also helps. Inflation is now 2.6%, down from 8.6% in 2004. Changes made in 2005 have increased tax revenues without hurting growth. Despite recent wobbles, the government should still come close to balancing the budget next year, compared with a deficit of over 5% of GDP in 2002.Hardly news for us who hear these numbers each day. But it still feels good when foreign media starts noticing that things somehow are improving this side of the Pacific. Could we maintain the momentum? Let’s see. On August 30, the National Statistical Coordination Board and the National Economic and Development Authority will announce the second quarter performance of the Philippine economy.
I’m crossing my fingers.