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Philippines sees 6-7 percent economic growth this year

MANILA, December 23, 2010 (AFP) – The Philippines on Thursday tipped the economy to grow up to 7.0 percent this year after election spending propelled expansion in the first half, a senior official said Thursday.

However, Economic Planning Minister Cayetano Paderanga said the rate of growth would ease next year.

“We expect to hit 6.0-7.0 percent in 2010,” he told a year-end press briefing. This would be higher than the government’s initial target of 5.0-6.0 percent expansion.

Paderanga noted that the economy grew 7.5 percent in the first nine months, driven by election-related spending for the May vote, which saw Benigno Aquino become president.

“To get into 6.5 percent (full year) growth, we need to grow at least 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter, and that’s what we are expecting,” Paderanga added.

“For 2011, with the absence of election spending and the still quite fragile global economic recovery, we expect growth to be more modest,” he said but said the government would maintain its current outlook.

“With the right policies and continued confidence we are hopeful that we will achieve the government… target of 7.0-8.0 percent,” he said.

A reviving semiconductor sector should sustain growth along with salary remittances by a large Filipino overseas work force, the surging business process outsource industry, tourism and construction, Paderanga said.

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