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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 08:45 GMT
Remittances help Filipino output
A fruit seller counting peso notes in Manila
Remittances help fuel domestic spending in the Philippines
The Philippine economy slowed in 2005, according to official figures, but was bolstered by a big rise in remittances.

The economy grew 5.1% last year, down from 6% in 2004, but performed at the top end of government forecasts.

But activity picked up strongly in the final quarter of 2005, which enjoyed the strongest growth in eight years.

The eight million Filipinos working abroad sent home $10.8bn (6.1bn) of their money - known as remittances - in 2005, a 23% rise on 2004.

Coming home

About 10% of Philippine nationals work abroad and their remittances play an increasingly significant role in boosting domestic consumption.

Domestic spending, in turn, accounts for about 70% of total output.

For 2006, the global picture remains supportive
David Cohen, Action Economics

The economy suffered from a weak export climate in 2005, particularly in the crucial electronics sector.

Exports rose just 2.7% in the first eleven months of the year, set against a government target of 10%.

However, conditions for manufacturing continue to improve and GDP rose 2.7% in the last three months of the year, the strongest quarterly performance since 1997.

Experts said prospects for 2006 were generally healthy, notwithstanding fears about a further rise in oil prices.

"For 2006, the global picture remains supportive and there is reason to hope that the Philippines can participate, especially with continued strength in remittances," said David Cohen, director for economic forecasting at Action Economics.

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