Philippine construction propels fourth-quarter GDP growth

Booming construction activity helped fuel the Philippine economy's expansion in the final quarter of 2023, making it the biggest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA said construction contributed 8.5 percent to the year-on-year GDP growth in October-December 2023, the highest among all sectors. It also grew at a robust 10.1 percent in real terms compared to the same period in 2022, following a 12.6-percent surge in the previous quarter.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed the robust performance to strong private and public construction activities, which grew 7.5 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively, in the quarter.

"This sector is expected to benefit significantly from the 'Build-Better-More' program and this administration's flagship housing program, the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing program [4PH]," Balisacan said in a statement.

The PSA reported that the overall GDP expanded by 5.6 percent in 2023, while the gross national income (GNI), a broader measure of the economy that includes net primary income from abroad, grew by 10.5 percent.

For the entire year, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (5.5%); financial and insurance activities (8.9%); and construction (8.8%) were the top contributors to annual growth.

Construction's annual growth moderated slightly from 12.1 percent in 2022 to 9.1 percent in 2023, but its overall contribution to the economy reached an all-time high of 14.5 percent, up from 14.0 percent in 2022 and 13.4 percent in 2021.

The sector accounted for P3.6 trillion ($71 billion) of the P24.3 trillion ($476 billion) GDP and nearly P27 trillion ($531 billion) GNI at current prices in 2023.

Balisacan said the full-year GDP in 2023 was now 8.6 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.


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