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Opinion
Daniel Moss

The Philippines Was an Economic Star. Until Covid-19

Growth was poised to outpace long-time regional winners such as China, Indonesia and India. The outbreak could change the calculus.

How to social distance in one of the world’s most densely populated cities?

How to social distance in one of the world’s most densely populated cities?

Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Just when the Philippines was finding its groove after decades in the economic wilderness, along came the Covid-19 pandemic. 

During the past five years, growth averaged more than 6% and was projected to exceed 7% this year, vaulting ahead of long-time regional stars like China, Indonesia and India. More likely now is an expansion of just 3% in January to March, followed by a contraction the next two quarters, according to the central bank. Steep cuts to interest rates and purchases of government bonds won't alter that prognosis; it’ll merely prevent the damage from being worse still.