By Eileen Mencias
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the Development Budget Coordination Committee has downgraded its growth forecast for the Philippines to 6-7% from 6.5-7.5% after the government was forced to declare another lockdown in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces late March.
Chua said growth in the next three quarters would have to hit 10% to meet the new gross domestic product growth target for the year after contracting by 4.2% in the first quarter.
Budget Secretary Wendell Avisado said the DBCC expects GDP growth to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2022 when growth is expected at 7-9%.
The DBCC kept its average inflation target for 2021 to 2024 of 2-4% as well as its foreign exchange rate assumption of P48 to P53 to the dollar.
Exports of goods are now forecast to grow by 8% this year, higher than the 5% it had forecast in December.
Imports of goods are projected to grow by 12% this year from just 8% in December.
The DBCC retained its growth forecast for service exports at 6% this year while service imports are expected rise 7%.