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Philippines economic expansion remains sharp in December

Staff writer |
The Philippines economy continued to expand at a sharp rate during December. At 80.6, unchanged from its November value, the World Economics Headline Sales Managers’ Index (SMI) signalled a sustained rate of economic expansion.

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Moreover, the latest reading was the second-highest since June. The SMI is the first monthly indicator to gauge the speed and direction of economic growth across all private sectors of the Philippines economy. It is derived from an average of the confidence, market growth, sales, prices and staffing indicators.

Sector data for December showed that the Manufacturing SMI posted 81.0 while the Services SMI posted 80.2. These index values indicated that the Philippines continued to experience rapid and balanced growth across both sectors of the economy.

Business expectations remained exceptionally high in December, with the Business Confidence Index registering 98.5. Expectations of sales growth and an anticipated expansion in the marketplace were mentioned by panel members as the main factors contributing to these very high levels of business optimism.

Nevertheless, the level of optimism has eased for the third successive month, and was the lowest level since April 2014.

The Market Growth Index, which reflects growth of the general marketplace in panellists’ own industry sectors, rose further in December, indicating a slightly higher rate of growth than that seen in the previous month.

At the same time, the Product Sales Index, which represents monthly sales made by panellists’ own companies, was unchanged from the fast rate recorded in November and remained well above its long-run series average.

On the price front, prices charged continued to increase markedly during December albeit at a slightly slower rate.

While currency exchange rates remained broadly unfavourable, these were reported in a number of cases to be less of a problem than earlier in the year.

The Prices Charged Index fell for the third month running in December to reach 61.9, down from 62.3 in November.

This was the lowest level since April but still showed that sales managers continued to pass on large price increases to clients.

Employment levels, meanwhile, increased further in December. The Staffing Index, which reflects the number of staff taken on compared to the same period last year, signalled the fourth consecutive month of increases, with the rate of employment accelerating to the fastest since May.

Surveyed managers commented on strengthening market conditions and positive sentiment towards the business outlook.


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