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IMF to hold consultation mission in PHL in Sept.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo in Washington, United States, September 4, 2018. — REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS//FILE PHOTO

THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold its annual discussions with the Philippines starting in September, an official said.

IMF Representative to the Philippines Ragnar Gudmundsson said the IMF will hold its Article IV Consultation mission from Sept. 21 to Oct. 3. A press briefing is scheduled on Oct. 3.

“We will be discussing the growth outlook in the near term, taking into consideration the second-quarter numbers, and over the medium term, with a focus on economic diversification, digitalization, and policies to promote green and inclusive growth,” he said in a text message.

The IMF earlier said it may revise its forecasts for the Philippines, after the slower-than-expected 4.3% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter. For the first half, GDP averaged 5.3%.

Economic managers have said GDP has to expand by at least 6.6% in the second half to be able to meet the government’s 6-7% target.

In its July World Economic Outlook update, the World Bank raised its growth outlook for the Philippines to 6.2% from the 6% forecast it gave in April. However, it lowered its 2024 growth projection to 5.5% from 5.8% previously.

“We will also be discussing the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, monetary policy and inflation targeting, and the soundness of the financial system, amongst other topics,” Mr. Gudmundsson said.

He said the IMF’s Executive Board meeting may take place in late November.

The IMF currently expects full-year inflation to average 5.5% in 2023, before easing further to 3.2% by 2024. Both projections are below the Philippine central bank’s 5.6% forecast for 2023 and 3.3% next year.

To tame inflation, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raised borrowing costs by 425 basis points from May 2022 to March 2023, bringing the key interest rate to a near 16-year high of 6.25%. 

Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds annual bilateral discussions with its members. A team from the IMF will visit the country to assess economic and financial developments and hold meetings with government and central bank officials.

The team will then present its findings for discussion to the IMF Executive Board, which represents all of IMF’s member countries. A summary of the IMF Board’s assessment will be given to the country’s government. 

The IMF last conducted its annual consultation with the Philippines in September 2022. The multilateral lender publicly released its staff report on Dec. 15 last year. — Keisha B. Ta-asan

Neil Banzuelo

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