PH 2020 economy worse than initially reported

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8) — The Philippine economy contracted worse than initially reported last year, revised estimates released Thursday by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

In a statement, the PSA said the growth rate in 2020 shrank by 9.6%, slightly more than the -9.5% reported in January.

The drop in the fourth-quarter gross domestic product, meanwhile, was kept at -8.3%, the revised calculations said.

"Revisions on the estimates are based on the updated data submissions/releases by the data source agencies," the PSA added.

The revised GDP estimates came ahead of the PSA announcement of the 2021 first quarter economic performance on May 11.

This economic contraction in 2020 was the Philippines' worst since World War II due to pandemic woes. The impact of the eruption of Taal Volcano and strong typhoons also dampened the economy.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua blamed the poor economic performance to the pandemic which crippled consumer spending and business activities.

"Economic growth will be hard-pressed to make a stronger economic recovery if children and families are restricted from participating in the economy, as up to 50% of non-essential retail sales are driven by family spending," Chua earlier said.

The government continues to implement strict quarantine controls in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces to address surging COVID-19 cases, forcing many industries to reduce their operational capacity or completely suspend their operations during the hard lockdown period.

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This development raised red flags over the capacity of the Philippine economy to bounce back quickly, Moody's Analytics said in its Asia Pacific Daily Briefing released late in March.

READ: Surge in new cases, rising inflation bring PH economy in "worrisome state" Moody's Analytics