A Moody’s unit counted the Philippines as one of three Southeast Asian nations whose economic recovery trail behind those of other Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries because of challenges to curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
In a report on Tuesday, Moody’s Analytics noted that the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia were “struggling either to contain Covid-19 or get their economic drivers going, or both.”
This, as “most of the region, if not already recovered, is within 2 to 3 percentage points of achieving a new peak in GDP (gross domestic product),” it said.
The sister unit of Moody’s Investors Service forecast the Philippine economy to grow by 6.3 percent this year, lower than India’s 12 percent, China’s 8.3 percent, Vietnam’s 7.5 percent and New Zealand’s 6.4 percent.
“Growth will continue to be led by China, Vietnam, New Zealand and Taiwan (5.8 percent), although easy comparisons to the deep 2020 downturns in India and the Philippines group them among the leaders, as well,” it said.
The Philippines remains in a recession after the economy contracted in the last three quarters. This resulted in GDP shrinking by 9.5 percent last year, the lowest since the government started gathering economic data in 1946.
“Containment of Covid-19 in the Philippines has been elusive,” Moody’s Analytics said.
“After gradually falling from August to February, the number of new cases is rising again, [even as] some quarantine measures are still in place.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections jumped by 4,437 to 631,320, of which 57,736 are active, according to the latest Department of Health data on Tuesday. Of the total, 560,736 have recovered and 12,848 did not.
Tuesday’s new cases was lower than Monday’s 5,404, the fourth-highest single-day infection tally the country recorded and the highest since 5,277 on August 26.
Moody’s Analytics said that aside from the growing number of coronavirus cases, the Philippines also had to deal with rising pork and vegetable prices.
Preliminary data from the Department of Agriculture showed that, as of Tuesday, the prevailing price of pork ham at P320; pork belly, P360; ampalaya, P70; native pechay, P50; Baguio pechay, P60; squash, P50; carrots, P80; and eggplant, P60 in Metro Manila.
Among the major countries in the region, only the Philippines and Thailand still seem to be
lagging in procuring Covid-19 vaccines, the Moody’s unit said, but assumed that they would acquire the doses they need as their sources expand.
It also said that, “for much of the region, including China, herd immunity [is] not likely be achieved until 2022. And for the laggards, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, immunity may not be achieved until 2023.”