Moody’s unit turns gloomy on Philippines’ struggle to exit pandemic

A sluggish vaccination program and a “decentralized” healthcare system is delaying the Philippines’ economic comeback, with growth prospects this year turning bleaker as the country struggles to contain an unexpected flare-up of coronavirus cases.

From its previous forecast of 6.3% annual growth for 2021, Moody’s Analytics slashed its gross domestic product projection to 5.3%, cementing the Philippines’ status as a “regional laggard,” it said in a research note sent to reporters.

That was worse than the Duterte administration’s tempered targets, which now pegs GDP growth this year at 6-7%, from 6.5-7.5% previously, after the emergence of more infectious coronavirus variants and a brief return to tighter mobility restrictions put a damper on the government’s growth ambitions.

For Moody’s, the gloomy outlook means the Philippines “isn’t forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels of output until the end of 2022.”

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