The Philippines is seen to have the fastest gross domestic product (GDP) growth among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN-5 major economies in 2016, based on the International Monetary Fund's latest Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific (REO).
The Philippine growth would be higher than that of Indonesia's 4.9%; Malaysia's 4.4%; Thailand's 3%; and Singapore's 1.8%.
The multilateral organization pegged the GDP growth for the Philippines at 6% this year and 6.2% in 2017, unchanged from its earlier predictions in its April 2016 World Economic Outlook (WEO).
The Philippines' GDP growth was down to 5.8% in 2016 from 6.1% in 2014 due to weak global demand and underspending, even if it picked up in the fourth quarter at 6.3%.
"The economic outlook (for the Philippines) is one of the strongest in the region but subject to increased downside risks, including lower growth in China and the region, higher global financial volatility and capital outflows, and weather related disruptions," IMF resident representative Shanaka Jayanath Peiris earlier said.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday, a stretch that began after presidential favorite Rodrigo Duterte made a speech before the Makati Business Club, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"Without the rule of law, there will be chaos and anarchy, and no confidence in our country. Without confidence, there will be no investments, and without investments, there will be no jobs," Ramon del Rosario, head of the prestigious Makati Business Club (MBC) that hosted Duterte last week, wrote a column Tuesday, May 3 in the Philippine Daily Inquirer citing the candidate's "distinct lack of respect for the rule of law.”
With the key stock exchange index down 1.62% since Duterte's speech, analysts said investors were nervously waiting to learn more about his economic policies.
"They are not sure about his economic platform because Duterte has always emphasized his campaign on corruption and not what he would do about the economy," research chief April Lee Tan of Manila-based securities firm COL Financial told AFP.
In response to the criticisms he got after that MBC speech, Duterte said that he was not an expert on economic policies, which was why he planned to seek the help of the “economic minds of the country” should he win on May 9.
Related: Duterte's priorities: Agriculture, education, health, MSMEs – Lynda C. Corpuz