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World Bank cuts Philippines’ growth forecast amid budget delay, El Niño
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World Bank cuts Philippines’ growth forecast amid budget delay, El Niño

MANILA, Philippines: The World Bank has downgraded its growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.4 percent for 2019 as the government operated on a reenacted budget in the first quarter and amid a looming prolonged dry spell due to El Niño.

In a press conference Monday, World Bank senior economist Rong Qian said the updated 2019 forecast – lower than the projected 6.5 percent in January – was due to the impact of the delay in the approval of the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget, limiting government spending to the reenacted budget.

Amid the deadlock on the 2019 appropriations, the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), last month slashed its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for the year to 6-7 percent from 7-8 percent.

El Niño was also expected to trigger an increase in the price of food, making the poor more vulnerable, Qian said.