(STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - Japanese investment bank Nomura has again raised its gross domestic product (GDP) outlook for the Philippines this year to 6.4 percent on expectations that the economy will sustain higher-than-expected growth in the first half of 2007.

Nomura’s previous forecast was 6.1 percent but in its latest Quarterly Asia Pacific — Economic Outlook, the investment bank said it was necessary to raise the 2007 economic growth outlook to 6.4 percent to capture the strong GDP growth in the second quarter of the year.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has reported that domestic economy as measured by GDP grew by 7.1 percent in the first three quarters of the year after expanding by 7.3 percent in the first quarter, 7.5 percent in the second quarter and 6.6 percent in the third quarter of the year.

“We have raised our 2007 real GDP growth forecast to 6.4 percent from 6.1 percent, following higher than anticipated second quarter growth of 7.5 percent year-on-year,” Nomura said in its report.

Nomura has upgraded its Philippine GDP forecast for the third time now after adjusting it upwards from the original 5.2 percent to 5.4 percent and then to 6.1 percent.

The investment bank is optimistic that the government is likely to grow by 6.4 percent this year despite the expected gradual slowdown in GDP growth in the second half of the year.

The government, for its part, expects the economy to expand by anywhere between 6.1 percent and 6.7 percent this year from 5.4 percent last year.

For next year, Nomura sees the country’s GDP expanding by 5.7 percent and by 5.8 percent in 2009.

“Slowing US economy makes for an increasingly uncertain export environment,” Nomura added.

However, the Japanese investment bank said government spending for infrastructure would help boost economic growth.

“We think the local economy will maintain stable growth in 2008 and 2009, driven by domestic demand, particularly from public-sector infrastructure investment,” Nomura said.

On the inflation side, Normura sees inflation averaging 2.9 percent this year from 6.3 percent last year.

GSIS revenues up 20% to P35B in first 9 months By Zinnia Dela Peña Monday, December 3, 2007

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said its net operating revenues rose 20 percent in the first nine months of the year to P35 billion from P29.2 billion the previous year-period, boosted by gains from the divestment of stocks.

In a statement, GSIS said revenues from other investments reached P15.3 billion, up 29.7 percent from the year ago’s P11.8 billion.

The state pension fund booked P10.4 billion from the sale of shares of blue-chip issues San Miguel Corp., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Ayala Corp. during the nine-month period this year.

GSIS registered gross revenues of P65.3 billion, 11.8 percent higher than the previous year’s P57.4 billion.

Revenues from insurance, meanwhile, increased 5.9 percent to P36.04 billion from P34.03 billion while revenues from loans went up 18 percent to P13.31 billion from P11.28 billion.

As of end-September this year, GSIS had total assets of P432.5 billion, up 5.8 percent from P408.8 billion last year.

The GSIS has earlier tapped Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands and Banco de Oro Universal Bank to manage P6 billion in net investible funds for a period of three years starting this year.

The three banks were designated the local fund managers of the GSIS with a mandate of P2 billion each.

The GSIS has also started to explore investment opportunities in the international front after it recently awarded the mandate for its $1-billion Global Investment Program (GIP) to ING Investment Management and Credit Agricole Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd., while Citibank NA was named as global custodian.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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