PH economy contracted by 9.6% in 2020


MANILA — The economic slump experienced in 2020 as a result of the health crisis is worse than the original reports released, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) after initial estimates were revised.

Last year’s gross domestic product (GDP)—the sum of all goods and services produced in a country in a specified period—which is a measure of the country’s economy, contracted by 9.6%. It is lower than the reported contraction of -9.5% in January.

The Philippine GDP in terms of current prices resulted to ₱17.9 trillion, lower than the the ₱19.51 trillion in 2019, translating to an economic loss of ₱1.58 trillion in 2020. Loss is attributed to restrictions in movement and disruptions in business activities, amid the global pandemic.

Meanwhile, the PSA maintains the -8.3% GDP for the fourth quarter of 2020.

“These are due to the latest full year data. We always update as needed if new data are available,” says Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.

Revisions on the estimates are based on the updated data submissions by the data source agencies, the agency explains.

“The PSA revises the GDP estimates based on an approved revision policy (PSA Board Resolution No. 1, Series of 2017-053) which is consistent with international standard practices on national accounts revisions,” it says.

Further sunken, the revised -9.6% GDP in 2020 still is the economy’s worst performance on record since the end of World War II.

The revised GDP estimates came about a month before the agency is scheduled to announce the first quarter 2021 economic output on 11 May.

Meanwhile, placing the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces under the strictest quarantine classification in the country’s economic center further dims hopes for a fast recovery from the recession experienced last year.

The two-week lockdown in the NCR Plus bubble is expected to trim off ₱30 billion or ₱2.1 billion a day in household incomes, result in 252,000 job losses, and bring about 102,000 more poor individuals for the entire duration of the strict lockdown.

The National Economic and Development Authority admitted earlier that the country will continue to see a negative GDP in the first quarter of 2021.

However, according to Chua it is too early to say if the revisions will affect the economic managers’ target of 6.5% to 7.5% growth this year. (JSM/JuanManila)

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