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Published: Thursday January 31, 2013 MYT 12:24:00 PM

Philippine economy grows 6.6% in 2012

MANILA: The Philippines said Thursday the economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.6 percent in 2012, cementing its status as one of the best performing in Asia.

The economy grew 6.8 percent in the final quarter, National Statistical Coordination Board secretary general Jose Albert told reporters.

Economists had been expecting growth of just 6.4 percent in the final quarter, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The full-year figure also exceeded the government's target of 5.0-6.0 percent, and was well above the expansion of 3.9 percent in 2011.

Albert said the strong end to the year was fuelled by the services, business real estate and manufacturing sectors, reflecting broad-based growth.

The Philippine economy has been one of the strongest in Asia this year amid a general sense of optimism that can largely be attributed to President Benigno Aquino's drive to fight corruption.

Investor confidence has picked up, with share prices climbing to record highs repeatedly over the past year.

"More than anything, we should really thank the private sector and the general public for trusting us and increasing their stake in the economy," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters.

But Balisacan said that while all domestic sectors performed above expectations, another important driver was the increasing amount of money sent home by the roughly 10 million Filipinos who work overseas.

About 10 percent of the Philippines' population are forced to work abroad because of a lack of job opportunities at home. - AFP

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