MANILA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines continues to be a "growth leader" in Asia, according to a regional think tank ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).
The AMRO, a trusted policy advisor to the ASEAN+3 region, reported the Philippine economy remains robust and is expected to grow by 6.8 percent in 2018 and 6.9 percent in 2019.
"This is because of the buoyancy on the country's exports and improvement on the budget execution," says the report, titled ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AREO) 2018, released on Thursday.
The implementation of the Build Build Build, the government's biggest infrastructure program, is also anticipated to boost growth momentum, the AMRO said.
"The Philippines' economic growth remains robust, although it eased slightly in 2017," the report says.
From 6.9 percent in 2016, it says the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) growth somewhat eased to 6.7 percent in 2017 as fixed investments decelerated.
Moreover, it says that private consumption also slowed but generally held up throughout the year, supported by gains in employment and sustained remittance inflows.
After a weak first quarter, it says government disbursement improved in the succeeding three quarters to guide public spending higher. Net exports also improved in 2017 as exports outpaced imports, it says.
"The Philippines' economy is forecast to grow by 6.8 percent in 2018 as exports are expected to remain buoyant while hurdles to budget execution are gradually being overcome," the report predicts.
The report, however, says that headline inflation has increased and is expected to trend higher in 2018.
"Higher food and energy prices pushed in action to return within the 3±1 percent target range in 2017 through February 2018 from 1.8 percent in 2016," the report says.
It says that core inflation also inched higher on firm domestic demand.
"On the back of the excise tax increases in the recently approved tax reform, higher crude oil prices, and the modest pass - through from the sustained depreciation of the peso, headline inflation is projected rise slightly above the 4 percent upper-end of the band in 2018," the report says.
The ASEAN+3 region comprises the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members states, China, Japan and South Korea. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.