Economic reform, strong GNP growth, falling inflation and strong export
growth for Australia are the key messages in the latest Country Economic
Brief on the Philippines, prepared by analysts from the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade in Manila.
The Philippines economy continued to grow strongly in the first half of
1996 with real GNP growth of 5.1% making the Government's full year GNP
growth target of 6.5% to 7.5% a realistic target.
Reform of the economy, which began under the Aquino Administration and has
been pursued vigorously under President Ramos, has placed the Philippines
in a good position to benefit from continued sustainable economic growth.
Importantly the government is committed to ensuring the benefits of this
growth are shared across the population. This objective has been assisted
by the improved inflation performance over the past few years with inflation
for 1996 expected to fall within the government's range of 7.5% to 8.5%.
Australia's exports to the Philippines continue to grow strongly. In 1995-96
exports were valued at $1.1 billion, a 28% increase over 1994-95 and the
first time Australia's exports to the Philippines have broken the $1 billion
mark in a one year period.
While the Philippines has experienced a slow down in the growth of exports
it still recorded an impressive growth rate of 19.4% in the first half of
1996, which is above the average growth level for the past 10 years. With
import growth also growing strongly, on the back of strong capital investment,
the overall trade deficit is widening but the current account deficit continues
to decline as a proportion of GDP due to the growing inflow of income from
Filipinos working overseas.
President Ramos has pursued his political agenda very effectively. He has
achieved this through astute alliance building and by projecting the image
of a responsible, consensus-oriented hands-on leader. He has pursued major
programs of national political reconciliation with various insurgent groups,
the major successes of which have been bringing into the political fold
military rebels and the signing in early September of a peace accord with
the main Muslim militant group, the Moro National Liberation Front, thus
bringing to an end a 24 year insurgency.
Under the 1997 Constitution, President Ramos is barred from seeking a second
term. Early jockeying for the presidential elections has already begun
and will intensify during 1997. The challenge now is to ensure that the
Administration's legislative program is bedded down before the race for
the Presidency becomes the main focus of attention.
The latest Country Economic Brief on the Philippines provides a comprehensive
range of facts and figures, assessment of economic and political developments
and coverage of the bilateral relationship. It is available at a cost of
Contact: David Garner, DFAT, Phone (06) 261 2097
For further information, please contact Anthony Taylor, Media Liaison
DFAT on (06) 261 1555.