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Business sees 2014 GDP growth at lower end of 6.5-7.5% target

Filipino businessmen hope to achieve a 6.5 percent GDP this year or the lower-end of the government’s 6.5 -7.5 GDP growth forecast because the adverse impact of business disruptions in the second quarter are expected to take its toll on the domestic economy.

PCCI President Alfredo Yao told reporters the truck ban and the port congestion that continue to hound exporters since February this year are going to drag down growth in the second quarter.

“It is difficult to hit 6.2 percent in the second quarter because that is the most affected quarter,” he said.

“We are lucky if we could maintain the 5.7 percent growth that we posted in the first quarter,” he added.

Growth, however, could speed up in the third and fourth quarters because these are traditionally high growth seasons. In the third quarter, Yao expects GDP to hit 6.5 percent.

But for the country to hit the GDP forecast, he said the remaining two quarters should grow at least 6.5 to 6.8 percent. The country’s GDP grew 5.7 percent in the first quarter this year.

“Growth is going to kick in the fourth quarter,” he added.

Yao also noted that the stock market, which  is one indicator of the country’s economy,  could still grow to the level of last year’s peak at 7,500 index.

“Our stock market should be duplicating last year’s performance, which peaked around May. We are very optimistic because our economic fundamentals are very good,” he said citing President Aquino’s continuing fight towards good governance.

Yao, however, urged for an immediate resolution to the port congestion, which he said has emerged to be an even bigger problem than the truck ban.

He said that unless the huge number of containers at the ports are not removed, port congestion will not be resolved.

“The only quick solution to ease the current congestion at the Manila ports is to ferry these containers out to Batangas and Subic,” he said.

Yao said this could be done with the Philippine Ports Authority having to step into the issue.

“PPA should step in,” he said.