Context: The Philippine economy is expected to grow in line with potential, at around 6½ percent per annum. Inflation is projected to remain within the BSP’s target band (3±1 percent). The external position is strong and fiscal policy is prudent, with a declining public debt ratio. Its small, bank-centric financial system has strong buffers, and risks associated with bank-corporate-real estate linkages are currently contained. Poor infrastructure has constrained private investment and job creation. Public investment continues to be low due to weak implementation capacity despite an increase in the investment budget and progress on fiscal transparency. Investment in human capital has been raised but needs to be stepped up. Financial development and inclusion, as well as structural reforms to foster competition and diversification, are essential for inclusive growth. Risks: Tilted to the downside; tighter global financial conditions and a surge in financial volatility leading to sharp capital outflows; continuing weak budget execution; and severe El Niño conditions.
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