AMRO cuts PH growth forecast to 4.3%

THE Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) slashed its 2021 Philippine economic growth projection, attributing it to the reimposition of stricter lockdowns following the emergence of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In the update of the “Asean+3 Regional Economic Outlook,” AMRO said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 4.3 percent, down from its earlier 6.4-percent forecast.

The regional macroeconomic surveillance organization’s latest projection falls within the government’s 4 to 5 percent economic growth target for this year.

For 2022, AMRO cut its GDP growth projection to 6.7 percent from 7.8 percent.

“The most recent outbreak — by far the most contagious and virulent yet — is attributed to the “Delta variant,” whose rapid spread has seen the retightening of physical containment measures that has put a brake on the recovery momentum for 2021,” said AMRO in its report published Thursday.

AMRO noted Southeast Asian economies that are experiencing weaker-than-expected growth due to “resurgent infections have had to maintain their expansionary stance.”

“For example, the Philippines and Thailand have continued to provide fiscal support as their economies struggle with high Covid-19 caseloads and challenging vaccination progress,” it added.

Back in August, the government placed the National Capital Region under enhanced community quarantine, the most stringent quarantine, from August 6 to 20 to contain the surge in Covid-19 cases triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The National Economic and Development Authority previously estimated the two-week coronavirus lockdown resulted in about P300 billion in production losses

Meanwhile, AMRO raised its inflation projection to 4.3 percent from 3.8 percent, still within the government’s 2- to 4-percent target range for 2021.

However, for next year, the inflation forecast was slightly reduced to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent.