Philippines’s GDP Growth Hits Four-Year Low: Central Bank Might Cut Rates

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The Philippines's GDP expanded 5.6% in Q1, slower than the 6.3% in Q4 of 2018, according to numbers released by country’s statistics authority (PSA) on Thursday.

PSA’s numbers also indicate that the Q1 growth rate has been the slowest since Q1 2015 when the GDP grew 5.1%.

The peso dropped 0.4% to 52.3 per U.S. dollar as of 10:12 a.m. in Manila.

The government targets to grow the economy by 6%-7% this year.

While the country has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, driven by the government’s infrastructure buildout, a standoff in Congress resulted in delaying the approval of the government’s budget.

According to media reports, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III previously said the government was unable to spend over P700 million (US$13.4 million) every day that the country operated under a reenacted budget and the government wasn’t able to spend P47 billion (US$899.6 million) in Q1.

The country’s central bank might also cut interest rates later on Thursday as inflation slows after a nine-year high last year.

The central bank hiked rates by 175 basis points last year to 4.75%.