Philippines’ 2020 Growth May Slow to 5%-5.5%, Central Bank Governor Says

(Bloomberg) --

Philippine central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said the nation’s economic growth this year could slow to a range of 5% to 5.5% as the world faces the risk of a recession.

“The current BSP monetary stance is consistent” with that forecast, Diokno said in a mobile-phone message, referring to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. “In order to achieve a higher growth rate, a massive, well-crafted fiscal stimulus is imperative.” The growth range is the central bank’s estimate and not the government’s, he said.

Diokno on Thursday delivered on a pledge to cut the key rate by half-a-point as central banks worldwide ease monetary policy and unleash stimulus. The BSP said it is ready to further reduce banks’ reserve requirement ratio and undertake other measures to boost financial market liquidity. It’s also ready to step in, if needed, to meet any demand for dollars.

The central bank governor is scaling down his expectations from an earlier 6% forecast. The Philippine economy grew 5.9% in 2019 from a year earlier.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a month-long lockdown of the main Luzon island, which has 60 million people and is responsible for about 70% of the country’s economic output.

“In a world facing a possible recession, a region that might slow down to around 3% growth, 5% to 5.5% growth rate is enviable,” he said. Dow Jones was first to report on the governor’s downgraded growth forecast.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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