The Philippines Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, the first contraction in over two decades, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported.
In the last quarter of 2019, the Philippines reported a GDP of 6.7 percent, which was a significant increase from the 5.7 percent reported in the first quarter of last year.
However due to the recent lockdown measures introduced by the government to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic, the country’s GDP has contracted for the first time since 1998.
Claire Dennis Mapa, the PSA head and National Statistician and Civil Registrar General, recently said in a virtual media briefing that the main contributors to the decline were manufacturing; transportation and storage; and accommodation and food service activities.
However, she also added that the service sector posted a growth of 1.4 percent during the same period.
The contraction of the GDP has surprised many, as experts predicted the Philippines’ GDP to contract in the second or third quarter of this year.
A negative GDP growth will be a major cause of concern or many as it will result in the closure of businesses and job losses in the economy.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua told the media in an online briefing, “Containing the spread of the virus and saving hundreds of thousands of lives through the imposition of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) has come at great cost to the Philippine economy. Even so, our priorities are clear: to protect lives and health of our people.”
The Philippines was the first country to shut financial markets as a preventive measure against the virus. As of today, the country has reported more than 10,000 positive cases of the coronavirus, with 685 deaths.