MANILA, Philippines – Philippines sees third-quarter slowdown in economic recovery due to relatively lower COVID-19 infections compared to its neighbors suffering from increases and with increasing mass vaccination, said the British-based think tank Pantheon Macroeconomics .
The Philippines is also likely to join Indonesia and Thailand to gain crew immunity by next year instead of 2023, Pantheon Macroeconomics senior Asia economist Miguel Chanco said in a report on Monday.
“Like India, the Philippines carried most of its second wave in the second quarter, so its economic recovery is unlikely to meet acute virus winds in the current quarter,” Chanco said.
The Pantheon Macroeconomics had expected the Philippines’ gross domestic product to grow by 15 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, mainly due to last year’s trough, as GDP (gross domestic product) fell by a record 16.9 percent at the height of the strictest COVID-19 lockdown in the region, which stopped 75 percent of the economy.
In the third quarter, Pantheon Macroeconomics’ GDP is expected to grow by 9.2 percent to reverse the decline of 11.4 percent a year ago.
But Chanco warned that “the picture in the archipelago [the Philippines] remains more fragile than in Asia’s largest democracy [India]. ”
“The Philippines’ case count turns out to be very sticky at around 45 percent by mid-April, while the test positivity rate continues to soar dangerously in the low double-digit range,” Chanco noted.
“For now, however, the ongoing, if gradual, increase in the mobility indicators for India and the Philippines is in sharp contrast to the return to near normalcy in other emerging markets,” he added.
In contrast, Chanco pointed out that despite the recent increase in cases in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam due to the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, these three countries had mostly introduced local quarantine restrictions, although they were tighter now than before.
For Chanco, the faster mass inoculation in most parts of New Asia except Vietnam aimed to achieve flock immunity to the deadly coronavirus.
“Immunity now appears to be achieved much earlier in large parts of Asean thanks to faster jabs and higher degrees of protection against previous infection. We maintain that India will achieve this goal in the current quarter, ”he said.
“But the immunity of the first quarter in Thailand and Indonesia is now within the possibilities ahead of the dates for the second and third quarters that we had previously signed with, while the Philippines’ 2022 was no longer to be written off,” he added.
Pantheon Macroeconomics expected earlier herd immunity – 85 percent of the vaccinated population was better protected against the Delta strain – in the Philippines achieved by 2023, a longer time than most of its neighbors.
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