World Bank downgrades growth outlook for Philippines, East Asia

The Philippines will likely miss its 6 percent to 7 percent growth target for 2019, the World Bank said on Thursday. Above, the Philippines’ financial district of Makati. (AFP)
Updated 10 October 2019

World Bank downgrades growth outlook for Philippines, East Asia

  • But ‘Philippine economy remains strong’ as growth would rebound to 6 percent in 2020 and 2021

DUBAI: The World Bank on Thursday downgraded its growth forecasts for the Philippine economy and the wider East Asia Pacific region as a weakening global economy, rising protectionism and the lingering US-China trade spat tempered expectations.

The Philippines will likely miss its 6 percent to 7 percent growth target for 2019, the Washington-based lender said as GDP would expand at a slower 5.8 percent this year versus the 6.4 percent it earlier forecast.

The slowdown in Manila’s economic growth, according to the global lender, are largely due to the delay in the passage of this year’s national budget as well as the government spending ban on new projects prior to the May midterm elections.

World Bank senior economist Rong Qian, in a statement, however said the ‘Philippine economy remains strong’ as growth would rebound to 6 percent in 2020 and 2021 particularly if next year’s national expenditure plan gets swift legislative approval.

“[The] timely passage of the 2020 budget and decisive action on the country’s tax reform program will remove uncertainties and help the private sector make timely decisions, boosting job creation,” Mara K. Warwick, the World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, also said in the statement.

Meanwhile, economic growth in the East Asia Pacific would slow to 5.8 percent in 2019 from 6.3 percent last year due as the heightened uncertainty involving the US-China trade tiff – which resulted to a pull-back in exports and investment growth – test the resilience of the region.

Regional growth as also downgraded to 5.7 in 2020 and 5.6 percent in 2021, respectively, from Bank’s previous assessment.

The World Bank noted that “downside risks to the region’s growth prospects have intensified. Prolonged trade tensions between China and the United States would continue to hurt investment growth, given high levels of uncertainty.”

“A faster-than-expected slowdown in China, the Euro Area and the United States, as well as a disorderly Brexit, could further weaken the external demand for the region’s exports.”


Dubai carrier Emirates doubts Boeing 777x aircraft delivery in 2020

Updated 14 October 2019

Dubai carrier Emirates doubts Boeing 777x aircraft delivery in 2020

  • Emirates is a launch customer of the world’s biggest twin engined jet
  • The US planemaker suspended load testing of the plane when media reports said a cargo door failed a ground stress test

DUBAI: Emirates doubts it will receive any of the 115 Boeing 777-9s it has ordered next year, its president said on Monday, as the US planemaker grapples with challenges in building the jet.
Emirates, a launch customer of the world’s biggest twin engined jet, was to receive its first 777-9 in 2020 but the manufacturer has suspended load testing of the plane.
“... By the end of next year we were to have eight of them. Now it doesn’t look like we will have any,” Tim Clark said at a conference in Dubai.
Boeing suspended load testing of the new widebody in September when media reports said a cargo door failed a ground stress test. There have also been issues with General Electric Co’s new GE9X turbine engine that will power the jet.
Boeing has said it expects to hold the initial flight test in 2020 and is aiming for the 777X to enter commercial service in the same year.
Clark said he had told Boeing he insists on a 13- to 16-month test period for the new jet.
Emirates ordered 150 777X jets, including 777-8 variants, in 2013. It later placed a preliminary order for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets in 2017, which Clark said he still saw a place for in the airline’s fleet plans.
Boeing has also been unable to deliver any of its 737 MAX aircraft since the single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.
Clark said in September Emirates would not take new Airbus and Boeing planes unless they were truly ready, and said that engine makers Rolls Royce and GE must improve their reliability.
Aircraft manufacturers should not over promise on new aircraft capability, he said on Monday.
Emirates has also signed deals for 40 Airbus A330-900s and 30 A350-900s.