By Bianca Cuaresma, December 13 2018; Business Mirror
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Global growth for next year is expected to be slower due to the projected anemic performance of economic powerhouses United States and China, but the Philippines is expected to buck this trend, according to an international credit watcher.
In S&P Global Ratings’s latest assessment on the regional and worldwide economic growth, the ratings agency said a global slowdown is “a healthy necessity” for 2019.
“In broad terms, we see the slowing of global growth as both necessary and healthy. We expect the process to be reasonably orderly, with recent bouts of market turbulence a reminder that slowdowns are not always smooth,” S&P said.
“It need not be the case that winter is coming, but the global synchronized upturn of 2017 has clearly passed, and we are entering the autumn of the long expansion that followed the global financial crisis,” it added.
The credit watcher expects global growth in 2019 to average 3.6 percent, slower than the projected 3.8 percent this year.
The risk to this forecast is also on the downside, as the escalation of a US-China trade war is likely to have repercussions for global trade and consumer demand.
Closer to home, S&P also expects growth in Asia Pacific next year to be slower at 5.3 percent, from the projected 5.4 percent this year.
Southeast Asian economies, according to S&P, may see flat growth at 5 percent in 2019.
“While favorable demographics continue to support domestic demand in these economies, third-quarter GDP numbers were on the weaker side due to reduced external demand,” S&P said of Asean growth, taking further note of slower trade growth as well as weaker consumption and investment activity in some economies.
Despite the regional and economic slowdown, the Philippine economy is seen to buck the trend, as forecasts from S&P showed that the country is expected to see stronger growth numbers for 2019 compared to this year.
In particular, S&P said the GDP growth of the Philippines may hit 6.4 percent in 2019, higher than the projected 6.2 percent for 2018.
Forecasts from the credit watcher also indicated that the country’s economic growth will continue to accelerate and may reach 6.6 percent in 2020 and 2021.
Inflation for next year may reach 4 percent, which is within the target range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“The Philippines saw rapid pass-through of oil prices and a weaker currency to inflation, adding to tax effects and weather events, which led to a one-off jump in prices of a number of items,” S&P said.
The credit watcher, however, warned of pressures that may persist in the local economy, especially now that its current account position is in the red.
“We believe the risk of further capital outflows, depreciation pressures and rising interest rates remain for economies with current account deficits in 2019. The risks appear to have eased somewhat recently, due to dovish Fed comments and lower oil prices, but our interest rate and oil price forecasts suggest that risks have not fully dissipated,” S&P said.
“As such, we will also be watching the potential for policy space in India, Indonesia and the Philippines to deteriorate further, especially if this coincides with renewed oil price increases,” it added.
The BSP will be having its next monetary policy meeting in Thursday. This will be the last monetary policy meeting of the Central Bank for the year.