Philippines economy shrinks 4.2% in first quarter


The Philippine economy shrank in the first three months of the year as coronavirus restrictions suppressed activity, but a top official said there were signs the country was “on the mend”.

Gross domestic product contracted 4.2 percent from a year ago, the statistics authority said, marking the fifth straight quarter of decline as efforts to combat Covid-19 deepened the country’s economic pain.

The number of infections has surpassed a million in the Philippines—the second highest virus caseload in Southeast Asia—where authorities have used crippling lockdowns to ease pressure on overstretched hospitals.

But the measures have thrown millions out of work, forced businesses to scale back operations and smothered consumer spending.

“The latest economic performance shows the limits of economic recovery without any major relaxation of our quarantine policy,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua told a briefing.

But there were tentative signs of a rebound, with Chua pointing to quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.3 percent and a pickup in employment. —AFP

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