The Philippine economy contracted for the third straight quarter this year, the first time in 35 years, the government said Tuesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 11.5 per cent in the July-September period compared to a year ago, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The contraction was less than the revised 16.9-per-cent decline in the second quarter, when the economy plunged into a technical recession. First-quarter GDP growth was earlier revised to negative 0.7 per cent.
The numbers mean GDP contracted 9.7 percent in the first nine months of the year, the agency said.
Agriculture was the only sector that posted growth, expanding 1.2 per cent in the third quarter, while industry declined 17.2 per cent and service shrank 10.6 per cent.
Despite the negative performance, “the economic team is optimistic that the worst is over for the country,” said acting Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.
“The smaller GDP contract … indicates that the economy is on the mend,” he added. “The path is clearer to a strong bounce-back in 2021.”
Government managers had projected that the economy would contract 5.5 per cent for the whole of 2020, but Chua said they needed to re-assess the targets.
The Philippine government imposed one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns in the middle of March, shutting down businesses, schools and even most government offices.
The government began slowly lifting restrictions on June 1.
As of Monday, the Philippines’ total coronavirus caseload stood at 398,449, according to the Department of Health. The death toll stood at 7,647, it added.