Typhoon damage forecast to cut Philippine growth rate this year to between 6.5 and 7 per cent

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government says damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan may reduce economic growth this year to less than 7 per cent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government forecasts growth of between 6.5 per cent and 7 per cent, down from its previous estimate of 7.3 per cent.

He says the economic aftermath of the typhoon, which killed more than 2,300 people in the eastern Philippines, may linger into next year. It caused widespread damage to agriculture in the worst hit areas.

Balisacan says fourth quarter growth will slow to 4.1 per cent from 7.1 per cent last year.

The Philippines had become one of the fastest growing countries in Asia under policies to clean up corruption and alleviate poverty.

Balisacan said rehabilitation of infrastructure such as roads, power networks and irrigation must be accelerated.