IMF prescribes focus on resilience and productivity for Asia-Pacific
7 May 2015
Source: GMA News Online
By: ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO
Economic efforts in Asia-Pacific should stay focused on resiliency and improvements in productivity, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported on Thursday.
While expansion "has moderated since the global financial crisis," the region is still projected as "the global leader over the medium term," the multilateral lender noted in its Regional Economic Outlook for Asia-Pacific for April 2015.
Growth in the region is "expected to hold steady" at 5.6 percent this year, and then "to ease slightly" with 5.5 percent in 2016.
The Fund said Asia-Pacific must be on guard for "real and financial volatilities" that "could disrupt" the outlook.
"As a region of oil importers and supply chain participants, Asia is set to benefit from the recent decline in world oil prices and the ongoing recovery in advanced economies," it said.
"However, real and financial volatilities could disrupt this favorable outlook, and further delays in structural reforms could hold back growth.
"Therefore, policies should remain focused on building resilience and enhancing productive capacity," IMF added.
The lender noted the Philippine economy is sturdy and poised to "absorb shocks" that may come as far as the regional and global impacts are concerned.
The Philippines "has legroom to adjust because of its stronger condition," Shanaka Peiris, IMF resident representative, said.
"In general, the economy is strong, right? It can absorb those shocks," he told reporters on Thursday.
Lower prices of food, fuel and electricity brought the headline inflation down to 2.2 percent in April from 2.4 percent in March and from 4.1 percent in April 2014, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported on Tuesday.
The four-month average settled at 2.3 percent, the Cabinet-level NEDA said, citing the latest inflation numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“Low and stable inflation in January to April 2015, which averaged at 2.3 percent, bodes well for consumption growth. It is also within the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s inflation target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent,” said NEDA Officer in Charge (OIC) and Deputy Director-General Emmanuel F. Esguerra.
Inflation is expected to remain low in the year, "near the low-end of the target range," the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier said in a report, attributing the downtrend "mainly to the significant decline in oil prices and the lower-than-assumed actual wage hike."