Typhoon Haiyan, locally named " Yolanda," and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which struck central Philippines will put a dent on the country's economic growth in the fourth quarter. But a senior government official said Thursday that the cut will not be drastic.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director- General Arsenio M. Balisacan said typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake would likely shave off 0.3 to 0.8 percentage point from the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the October to December period.
"The aftermath of typhoon Haiyan plus the earthquake in Bohol province is sure to impact on the fourth quarter. Our earlier estimates suggest that the impact could be anywhere from 0.3-0.8 percentage point of what would be expected for the fourth quarter if there would have been no super typhoon and no earthquake," Balisacan said.
Despite this, Balisacan and analysts said the Philippines is well on its way to achieving a 7-percent GDP growth rate in 2013, barring more disasters.
"To reach our growth target of 6 to 7 percent in 2013, all you need is about a growth of 5.2 percent (in the fourth quarter). That's still very doable," he said.
Based on the latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, typhoon Haiyan alone destroyed 24.53 billion pesos (561.28 million U.S. dollars) worth of crops and infrastructure in central Philippines. The earthquake, meanwhile, caused damages amounting to 2.25 billion pesos (51.63 million U.S. dollars).
Analysts, however, are more worried about the impact of typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake on the country's economic performance in 2014, particularly if the Philippine government drags its foot on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of affected areas.
"If reconstruction works are stalled, then GDP growth in 2014 would settle at a lower rate of 5 percent," said University of the Philippines economist Benjamin Diokno.
University of Asia and the Pacific economist Cid Terosa said the impact of natural disasters on economic growth could spill over to the first semester of 2014.
"This can be traced to the lag effects of natural calamities that could lower consumption demand and investment flows. Also, export growth will continue to be tentative next year," Terosa said.
What could counter these, he said, is higher government spending in 2014.
The Philippine government said it is sticking to its target of growing the economy by 6.5 to 7.5 percent next year.