Philippine Economy Expands At Fastest Clip In Two Decades

6.9% expansion rate

The Philippines economy grew at its fastest rate in nearly 20 years in the three months to March, expanding 6.9% from a year earlier with the services sector leading the jump.

President Gloria Arroyo said the services sector grew 9.1%, industry 5.3% and agriculture 4.2%. Analysts applauded the figures which were better than forecasts and supported by low interest rates and a strengthening local currency.

"Low interest rates along with the strong peso provided a very good business environment, particularly for the industrial sector, while imports of goods used in manufacturing became cheaper," said. Banco de Oro Universal Bank strategist Jonathan Ravelas.

The Philippine economy grew 5.4% in 2006. The first quarter grew 5.7% and the final quarter by 5.5% amid sharp increases in trade, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, public services and exports.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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