MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2% in the fourth quarter, the statistics agency said on Thursday, beating expectations.
Economists in a Reuters poll had expected gross domestic product (GDP) to rise 6.5% in the last three months of 2022 from a year earlier. Third quarter growth was 7.6%.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed the stellar fourth-quarter performance to pent up demand following the lifting of pandemic restrictions and full reopening in the last three months of the year.
"We are confident that we will remain in our high growth trajectory," Baliscan told a media briefing.
He said China's reopening was sure to be a boon for the Philippine economy, while protecting the purchasing power of Filipinos and ensuring food security would remain priorities for the government.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP came in at 2.4% in October-December, compared with expectations for a 1.5% rise and the previous quarter's upwardly revised 3.3% growth.
For the full-year of 2022, growth was 7.6%, above the government's target of 6.5 to 7.5%, and stronger than the previous year's 5.7% expansion.
The government has set a 6.0 to 7.0% GDP growth target for 2023.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)