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Philippine economy surges 6.3% in 4Q

Staff writer |
The Philippine economy expanded at a faster clip in the fourth quarter, driven by higher government spending, private consumption and increased economic activity.

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Gross domestic product expanded by 6.3% from a year earlier in the October-December quarter, the Philippine Statistics Authority said, making the Philippines one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

The fourth quarter performance pushed up GDP growth for 2015 to 5.8%, better than many regional peers hit by the slowdown in China and soft global demand, but still short of the government's original 7%-8% target for the year.

Growth of 7.4% in the services sector made up for a 0.3% contraction in agriculture due to bad weather. Services account for half the nation's output.

The industrial sector, driven mainly by construction, expanded 6.8% from a year earlier. Private consumption rose 6.4% in the fourth quarter while government spending was up 17.4%. Investment rose 13.5%.

Despite the relatively robust growth, the government would still have to step up spending this year to cushion the domestic economy from the continued patchy global growth.

The Philippines could hit a higher growth pace of 7% if it address infrastructure and regulatory constraints. The 2015 result pushes average growth in the past six years to 6.2%, the fastest since the late 70s.

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